Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Avery Bandwagon. . .

Again a little dated, but I’m sure you’ll forgive me. . .hopefully.

So apparently some people (umm, yes you, Rangers fans) are already planning to boo Sean Avery when he returns to the Garden in October. Why you ask? Because he gave an interview, upon his official unveiling in Dallas, where he said:

"It's certainly a better team than the one I formerly played on.”

Umm, yeah. So, what, Rangers fans are now mad at people who tell the truth?

I’m sorry. Rangers fan or not, the Dallas Stars were a much better team than the Rangers were last year. Much. And, my personal opinion is, that, if Detroit did not go on such an absolute tear after they finally got past Nashville (a team I had a feeling they would struggle against), Dallas might very well have ended up Stanley Cup Champions. If they weren’t too tired from all the fire power the West had to offer, that is. But, regardless, Dallas was a very good team. The big question was Marty Turco and his inability to play his strongest and most consistent when it counted. He passed that test. And Brenden Morrow was an animal (still shaking head thinking about poor Milan Michalek) in the playoffs.

On the other hand, the Rangers had a mediocre year. Really. Their best scorer had his worst statistical season. The rest of the guys who were supposed to score, umm, didn’t. They won one game against a Western Conference team all season. ONE game. And it wasn’t even an overly spectacular one against a somewhat tired San Jose. They had the worst, most uninspired West Coast trip I’ve seen in a long time. If I wasn’t drunk through most of the Minnesota/NY game in December, I’d have been crying. (Marian Gaborik might still be smiling over that one. And in fairness, credit Gaborik when due – he had a night for all nights). There was the unprecedented 5 goal meltdown in Montreal in February. (And since we’re keeping the tear count, I think I did cry that night). With the exception of a season long domination of the team in New Jersey, there was not much this team was dominating, let’s not kid ourselves. Sure, there were some good moments that stick out for me. Stephen Valiquette getting his groove on and dismantling a very good Flyers team on more than one occasion. Brendan Shanahan and Nigel Dawes putting on a very nice string of shootout game winners. A very good month of November.

When all is said and done, that’s what sticks out. It was not a great year. And that not great year culminated in the Rangers taking out rival NJ in the first round in decisive fashion and then blowing a 3-0 lead in game one against Pittsburgh, before going down 3-0 in the series, and eventually falling out of the playoffs entirely. (And yes, for the record, there were definitely tears on that Friday night of game 1 against the Pens. And there might have been throwing things too. Kinda fuzzy on the details, I’ll admit).

Anyway, the point is, Rangers fans, you can’t really say he’s lying. You can hate the fact he chose to mention it. But…guess what? He’s Sean Avery. He’s going to say things that get to you. That’s how it operates. And you know what, that’s why you liked him in the first place. I know that’s part of the reason I like him. So I’m not, for his one press conference, at his unveiling for his new team, going to give him crap for saying that he’s now on a better team. Not going to happen. Especially since for all due honesty, it is, in fact, true.

You know what else, though? How many people paid attention to the interview Sean gave BEFORE he left New York. The city, not the team. Post Free Agent Frenzy, Sean was still living in NY. He gave a phone press conference to the good people of Dallas. From his bathtub. Yes, you heard me. Again, people – Sean Avery. So Sean’s in his luxurious bathtub in NYC and he’s saying how much he didn’t really want to leave NY and how much he loved it and “does” love it. How much he wants to come back. Not necessarily back to the team, but back to the city. He knew he was loved. He acknowledged the fans. If anything I felt for him in listening to that interview. Felt that he was struggling to say good things about Dallas and bad things about NY. The news was still raw.

Fast forward to August 6th. He’s unveiled in Dallas in apparently what was quite a Sean Avery outfit if there ever were one. He’s had a month to think about where he’s going and what he’s saying. And you think for a second he’s going to answer any question directed toward him with one of the following. “I love NY.” “I miss NY.” “I am a Ranger!” Come on. Really. All the guy said is that the team was better, he thinks it’s a better opportunity and they have a better chance to win.

Someone please tell me which of those is either untrue, or wrong of him to say when he’s being officially welcomed to his new team.

Seriously, guys, be thankful that is the WORST thing he said.

In closing. I’ll hold true to my original statement. I don’t think Sean Avery was vital to the NY Rangers, but I do think he’s absence will change the landscape of the team. (as will Jagr’s, Straka’s, etc.) Things will undoubtedly be less colorful in New York without him. Those are facts. I know I’ll miss him.

Will the Rangers be a good team next year or a better team? No way to know. Really, there’s no way to know. Will Dallas be a better team for getting Sean Avery? That, my friends, I don’t know either. But, they will undoubtedly be more interesting a team. Whether he’s fighting his team or the other team, he’ll fight. Whether he’s yapping at his team or the other team, he’ll be yapping. Sean is Sean. And, relax, Dallas fans. Relax. I hesitated to want Sean Avery on my team when he first came. I did. I admit it. You might be hesitant too. But most of you will be on a different bandwagon when the new season starts and #16 is playing for the black, green, and gold. A new wagon driven and decorated by the stylings of Sean Avery.

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