by Joe Tasca on 12/31/11 at 09:59 AM ET
Unless you have a fondness for cocky, pompous, and narcissistic human beings, it’s hard not to smile upon learning that Sean Avery has been placed on waivers by the Rangers.
Nobody has enjoyed watching Avery become John Tortorella’s personal whipping boy more so than yours truly. Even though the Ranger coach hasn’t publicly chastised his mouthy winger, it’s obvious that Tortorella has absolutely no love lost for Avery. The fashion guru has played a mere 15 games this season, having served as a healthy scratch for the Blueshirts’ last nine contests.
Avery’s career is now at a crossroads. No NHL team wants anything to do with him, which isn’t particularly surprising considering it’s virtually impossible to think of another player who’s been more disrespectful towards his teammates, his opponents, his coaches, and the game in general, than Sean Avery.
Avery’s comments after learning he was waived are predictable:
“I have a lot left and a lot to prove,” Avery said. “I can be the type of difference-maker I was in New York when I was there the first time and allowed to play my game.
“I guarantee that I’ll play my a—off and give everything I have for the team that will give me the chance I wasn’t getting [by coach John Tortorella]. That team will be getting a guy who has a lot to prove.
“The GM and coach willing to look past some of the things that are out there about me, I can guarantee that they won’t ever be sorry, and neither would my teammates.”
This response reeks of self-aggrandizement. Labeling himself as a difference-maker, when in reality he was eighth on the 2008 Rangers in scoring, is arrogant and delusional. The only “difference” Sean Avery made that year was in forcing the NHL to create a rule prohibiting players from waving their arms in front of a goaltender in an effort to obscure his view.
What’s telling about Avery’s comments is that he’s seemingly begging for another chance. It’s almost as if he’s pleading with general managers across the league to ignore his laundry list of past offenses and his tendency to be a distraction in the dressing room, as if these factors don’t merit consideration in the decision to acquire hockey players.
It’s obvious that Avery’s trying to play the role of victim here, when in reality, he’s clearly been his own worst enemy. By saying Tortorella didn’t give him a chance, Avery is playing Ranger fans like a fiddle, trying to drum up sympathy from the Blueshirt faithful. It’s also a nifty deflection of blame. The fact of the matter is Sean Avery made his bed a long time ago. He’s now living the consequences.
Larry Brooks tries to stir the pot, as he so often does, by saying the Islanders should claim Avery:
It would seem a no-brainer for the Islanders to claim Avery, who was scoring a 20-goal pace given any reasonable ice time, and who would increase the battle level and skill level for a team on the outside looking at the playoffs again.
Beyond that, there is tangible off-ice value to CEO Charles Wang that acquiring Avery would provide in revenue generated by ticket sales, merchandise sales and through the interest and publicity in the club beyond its current limited scope that such a move would generate.
This analysis is laughable. The Islanders have enough problems on and off the ice, and landing a cancer like Avery isn’t going to expedite the team’s never-ending re-building process. Undoubtedly, the young core on Long Island would benefit from an infusion of veteran leadership, but suffice it to say Sean Avery doesn’t fit the bill.
Brooks’ suggestion that Avery’s presence would help the Islanders sell more tickets is just as absurd. Hockey fans pay to see Sidney Crosby and the other great talents of the game, not an enigmatic blockhead who wears out his welcome everywhere he goes. Avery’s been called a first-class agitator, but the fact that he agitates his own teammates makes him an unattractive commodity.
Inevitably, Avery will likely finish the season with the Rangers’ farm team in Hartford. Where he ends up after that is anyone’s guess. It’s impossible to feel bad for someone who’s career has been defined by incomprehensible petulance. Personally, I don’t believe in karma, but sometimes, for whatever reason, a person gets what he deserves. Without a doubt, Sean Avery has earned his comeuppance.
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About Tasca's Take
Tasca's Take is written by Joe Tasca. Born and raised in Westerly, Rhode Island, Joe works as a broadcaster for seven radio stations in southern New England. Whether that's a testament to his on-air ability or because he has a desparate need for money is debatable.
Joe spends his summers playing golf, enjoying the beauty of Misquamicut Beach, and wining and dining girls who are easily awed by the mere presence of a radio personality. During the winter months, he can usually be found taking in a hockey game somewhere in North America. In the spring, he spends much of his time in botanical gardens tiptoeing through the tulips, while autumn is a time to frolic with his golden retrievers through piles of his neighbors’ leaves.