It appears that the Sean Avery saga is finally coming to an end with the Rangers…again. Though this time it seems to be for good and not just with the Rangers, but with the NHL, KHL, SEL, AHL, or any hockey league you can think of.
Last night on Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live, Sean Avery proclaimed that he was retiring from hockey and that he, “…Threw his skates into the Hudson.” Many had speculated that the end of Avery’s career was right around the corner, that he had, between his actions and words, burned too many bridges in the NHL and its affiliates to have a legitimate shot at being put on re-entry waivers this season by the Rangers. Turns out, those speculations may have been correct.
The Ontario native remained in the AHL on the CT Whale roster through the NHL trading deadline. A few weeks later, Avery was left off of the Whale’s Clear Day roster leaving him ineligible for the rest of the regular season’s games as well as the AHL playoffs. To make their point more emphatically, the Rangers told their winger that his services were no longer wanted and that he didn’t need to report to practices anymore. Or to put it another way, the Rangers invoked Donald Trump’s words and told Avery, “You’re Fired.”
On Twitter Tuesday morning thing turned into a, “He said/They said” speculation fest until the always reliable (especially concerning all things Sean Avery) The New York Post’s Larry Brooks reported that for Avery, this was for real; that his skates were indeed at the bottom of the Hudson and that he will no longer pursue a career in hockey; that his focus will now be on his post-hockey career. In the Post, Brooks reports that Avery will join an undisclosed advertising firm with a specialization in venture capitalism where eleven years of building connections in the fashion business has paid a dividend for Avery.
As a never-ending supporter of “The Abrasive One,” I will remember Avery most for his first tenure with the Rangers on Tom Renney’s watch. At that time, Avery was a central character in the Rangers winning their only two playoff series victories since the lockout. Who will ever forget how the super-pest distinguished with the title of “evil-genius” by ESPN & forced the NHL to implement a whole new rule for play in the middle of the playoffs no less, when he faced Martin Brodeur and waving his stick in his face leading to what’s commonly known now as, “The Avery Rule” prohibiting such behavior?
Avery was always the x-factor who could take over a game at any given moment, turn all the attention onto himself, and then just as easily give all that momentum over to the opponent and motivate them and handing away two points.
After the infamous, “sloppy seconds” comment/debacle would be a difficult one for Avery before it even began.
Tortorella and Avery were at odds before the agitator even came to New York. Before being hired as the Rangers head coach during his tenure as a TSN commentator, Tortorella had said that it was time for the league to get rid of Avery. He said that he felt that there was no spot in the sport for behavior like Sean’s. Sather believed that Tortorella would learn to love Avery as the rest of New York had, but as it turned out, it wasn’t meant to be.
Overall, Avery finishes his Rangers’ career having played 264 games netting 45 goals and accumulating 78 assists for 123 points and 601 PIMs.
Now with his hockey playing days over, Avery will hope to build upon his “genius” by not announcing his retirement officially until the end of the season, in order to drain all the money from the $15.5 million contract he signed with Dallas four years ago and that is now being split with the Rangers.
So now the search begins over the entire NHL, for a player to step up that will try and take that “Super-Pest” title away from the league’s anger magnet. Teams and their fans will now be on the “Look-out” for a new player that everyone’ll loves to hate, and the NHL will have to move on to their next villain.
Hockey is all about entertainment as a fan. And as a fan, the league has permanently lost one of its all-time entertainers.
Best of luck to Sean Avery in his career post-hockey.
(photo courtesy of thehockeyguys.com)