When you are the prodigal son, the sinner, the outcast of the NHL you are happy for the little things. Sean Avery is no normal prodigal son. He doesn't just accept the fatted calf, the fine wines and the jewels, he pays back. Boy does he pay back. Yesterday, at the Wachovia Center he had a nice game, scored a goal, but his team lost to the hated Flyers 4-2. Today was redemption day for the Rangers led by that man, that one, that prodigal son. Did he have a game.
He scored the first goal on a deflection of a Derek Morris shot, then scored the third goal right in front of the net and in between he was an all around whipsaw, dishing out five hits and making life miserable for the Flyers. In the process he jumped the Rangers into a tie with Montreal for sixth, two points behind Pittsburgh for fifth and four points behind the fourth place Flyers.
Redemption is sweet. So here was the Garden crowd chanting his name with every goal, with every hit and with every sighting. He was given an uproarious standing ovation when he was announced as the number one star. And to think that someone said he didn't belong in the league. It must have been an Eastern Conference opponent who said that.
Oh, there were other players and other stars who contributed. Andropov got his third Ranger goal and Sjostrom scored his second goal in three games, his seventh of the year. Dan Girardi endeared himself to the 150th consecutive sold out crowd by dropping his gloves and going after Mike Richards who had just decked Nikolai Zherdev. He got 2, 5, and ten but so what. He sent a message as did the rest of the Rangers. Brandon Dubinsky also got into the hit parade with 5 hits.
Andropov was the number two star and Lundqvist was number three, but on this night, all eyes, those in the crowd and on the benches were on the prodigal son; who was not just happy to return again, but he returned with a vengeance. With 11 games to go the Rangers have their spines restored and now the rest of the team must keep it going.ICINGS:
More love for the Grate One.
Chris Kotsopoulos / Kotsy's Korner:
Avery Leads the Way --
Sean Avery led the Rangers with 2 PP goals and played with his usual reckless, "in your face" style that the Rangers have missed all season long. I, for one, am very happy that he's back. Avery's game has a little of everything - he can skate, hit, score, agitate, and most of all he has the opponent thinking about him constantly. I love it! Oh, and when Flyers coach John Stevens complained about Avery getting away with his stuff on the ice... all I can say is, "Wahhhh!" Has he looked at his own agitator (Scott Hartnell) lately? I'm just glad that Avery's back and I'm sure the Rangers fans are too! ...The Manic Ranger:
There Is Only One Sean Avery --
“We got emotional and used it in the wrong way there,” Stevens said. “I think (Avery’s) probation period is over and now he’s back up to his old antics and we got sucked in to be quite honest with you. We started worrying about him instead of playing the games. He draws your physical attention and allows their skilled people to play and then we play the whole game shorthanded.” said Coach John Stevens. Hmm skill players huh? Didn't Avery score two of those goals himself? This sounds like a bit of an excuse. Seems like Avery was even able to get into Stevens head. In reality Avery played a hard nosed game today, he did nothing deserving of being called 'antics'...Natural Hat Trick:
He Belongs In Blue. . . --
Sean Avery is made for Manhattan. Made in the mold of and effective in this uniform. I will not go so far as to say there is a perfect athlete or a perfect player, but if there was ever a player where you said, he can only work there, that is his perfect match, that's Sean Avery and New York.Jane McManus / Rangers Report:
Granted, half of it might be because he, after having been here and been happy here, had this thought in the back of his mind all along that this is where he belonged and if he wasn't here, he wasn't going to be happy, effective Sean. Which on some level you can't even blame him for. We can all name athletes that just played better in one location over another in their careers...
Avery and the Rangers --
Full disclosure, I’m not crazy about focusing on the designated matinee idol. So when NBC put a camera on Sean Avery and called it the “Star Cam,” well, let’s just say Avery would have had to do a lot in order to make me want to write about him.Larry Brooks / NY Post:
He did it...
RANGERS RIP FLYERS --
If this isn't as well as the Rangers can play, then it is certainly as well as they have played at any time this season. Coincidence of coincidences, Sean Avery had more than just something to do with it...Wonder why this guy at the Bleacher Report is such a big Avery fan?
And in the middle of it all was Avery, who scored twice from in front, drew two penalties directly and one indirectly, distracted a Flyers team that failed to get the memo about the New Sean, and who, four goals and six games into his Encore on Broadway, is acting as the same catalytic agent he was upon first joining the Blueshirts two years ago...
Martin Avery / Bleacher Report:
The Secret To Sean Avery's Success With The New York Rangers This Time --
Many are amazed by the change in Sean Avery, but not me.Martin Avery / Bleacher Report:
I've been following his hockey career for more than 10-years and I've seen him make a series of big changes.
He is like a horse that wants to change into a giraffe, a dinosaur that evolves into a bird, or a Neanderthal that becomes a sensitive new age man...
Stars, Penguins Must Kick Themselves As Avery Is First Star of The Game --
The Dallas Stars, Pittsburgh Penguins and a dozen other teams must be having second thoughts for sloppy decisions about signing Sean Avery.
Now, that he is scoring a goal a game and leading the New York Rangers into the playoffs...