So to start off the special post, let's talk about a special player: Sean Avery. If I have given off the impression that I don't want him back, let me apologize because it is far, far from the reality. This summer I bought an Avery jersey because he left the Rangers with a fantastic legacy - he worked hard, he helped the team win, he cared about the fans and he hated our rivals almost as much as we do. If he can come back and do it again, then let's welcome him with open arms because the current crop of Blueshirts struggle with all of the above.
On another side note, with Alex Rodriguez taking the headlines for juicing, it really brings up an interesting contrast - baseball has steroids, hockey has sloppy seconds. According to Baseball Almanac:
The first positive test will result in a suspension of up to ten days. The second positive test will result in a suspension of thirty days. The third positive test will result in a suspension of sixty days. The fourth positive test will result in a suspension of one full year. Finally, the fifth positive test will result in a penalty at the discretion of the Commissioner of Major League Baseball.
Avery's last game with Dallas was on November 30th (a game which he scored a goal). That means that as of right now, he has missed 29 games over two-and-a-half months. While his official suspension was just six game, in effect he was suspended longer then a baseball player who had been busted three times for performance-enhancing drugs.
Does that make sense to you?
Ok, enough on Aves and other other items:
*There is a fantastic, fantastic article about one writer's day as an assistant coach for the Rangers' ECHL affiliate, the Charlotte Checkers. It is a fun read and many thanks to Kukla's Korner for the heads up.
*Carp saw new lines on offense at practice today. My question is why is Renney so willing to juggle his offense while he sticks with the defensive pairings? Redden and Rozsival are allowed to drag down Girardi and Staal and hinder their development game after game but Scott Gomez gets to try every possible winger to find some sort of chemistry. It just doesn't make sense.
*If you haven't checked lately, The Dark Ranger has really stepped up his game of late and his two 'political' cartoons atop his page are fantastic. I highly recommend heading his way and keeping up with with the darkness.
*There aren't many better ways to stick it to your former employer than the way Brendan Shanahan did last night. Tossed away as too old and too slow, all Shanny did was skate for 12:41 (with 1:16 on the power play and 3:42 shorthanded) and collect a beautiful assist on the game-winning goal. We miss you Shanny, as you can clearly tell. Thanks Glen.
*Ok, maybe I am not done with Avery yet. The incompetent columnist Mark Herrmann, who somehow survived the staff cuts at Newsday despite poorly writing about a sport he clearly has no clue about, made the pitch that the Rangers should go after Ottawa's Chris Neil instead of adding Avery. He incorrectly claims that Neil is on the trading block and Neil, frankly, is nowhere near as good as an agitator as Avery. A better fighter, yes, but he can't come close to getting under opponents' skin the way Avery does.
*And there is no telling how long he will have to be in the AHL, where he will be faced with every AHL idiot looking to make a name for himself, but that hasn't stopped The Manic Ranger from putting the cart before the horse and figuring that we will see the last of Lauri Korpikoski once Avery gets picked off waivers. The sad/scary thing? He is probably right. There is no way that the completely useless Aaron Voros will join Pat Rissmiller in Hartford, because that would show that three of Sather's summer free agent signings were complete failures (even though all six were).
*I will throw a Peepin' Foes together for the Caps later tonight or tomorrow morning but as sad-sounding as it is likely to come out we at least can look forward to seeing Alexander Ovechkin, the most exciting player in the NHL. Even Renney's soulless system can't keep Ovie's star from shining. It should be fun.