Even though I was not able to write a blog entry (and oh how I wanted to on Friday night!) and was out of computer-land, I had a blackberry that allowed me to slightly keep up with the hockey world. So the news of Sean Avery's potential return is not completely unknown to me. (And as if a bunch of us weren't curious the moment it came out he'd never play another game for the green, black, and gold).
If anyone wants to go back in this blog and search "Sean Avery", they will find that I was a fan of his and went so far as to defend him at times during this season. I won't belabor that fact, but you can feel free to check up on it.
Therefore, if Sean Avery does indeed become a New York Ranger - again - as it appears may very well happen, I for one will welcome him with open arms. Here's why:
Sean Avery will never be the best hockey player. Not on talent. Not in points. But he, like many of the others cast aside by New York management in recent years, got it. He got what it meant to wear the sweater. He got what it meant to stick up for his teammates. He got what it took to win and did everything he could for that cause.
The Rangers sorely lack much of the above. The fact that even with Colton Orr, Aaron Voros, and anyone else who has ever "fought" for this team let Zherdev's broken nose go unpunished (clean hit or not) is unacceptable. The fact that this team, with those same players, has let its goalie get run without so much as a dirty look all year is disgusting. I like Colton Orr just fine, but I really thought that was the reason he was here. Please tell me it was not just to fight Eric Godard 3 seconds into a game because he wanted to. And please don't tell me it was to score goals.
When I heard that no one, save Dubinsky, really said anything to Steve Ott after that incident on Friday, my first thought to myself was, well, Sean Avery would have.
So essentially I want Avery on my team because I think he, in a perfect world, will bring back all the great things he once did for this team and all he meant.
The fans loved him. He loved the fans. The Rangers, in every capacity, were a better team with him than without him. I was, indeed, sad to see him go.
Notice, though, I said "in a perfect world."
Here-in, fans, truly lies the rub. The Rangers, right now, are not a perfect anything. Team, destination, situation. To think that adding one person, even Sean Avery, will make a difference, is silly.
I personally think Avery has the potential to score more goals than many on this team, but on a team that so lacks the ability to put the puck in the net, I don't know who would help him do so.
He's not going to help the defense. He's not going to be a miracle. That much I do believe.
Also, and potentially more importantly, we are getting a possibly "re-created" Sean Avery. While I do not believe that he has been re-constructed to the point that he is not the Avery that I love anymore, I would be lying if I didn't admit that in the back of my mind I did have some small fear that he will not (not cannot, but will not) play the same way he did up until his lacerated spleen last spring.
That is a risk that anyone takes. After injury. After something unprecedented like this. You never know what you are going to get.
Look, some people are going to be very mad if Avery is a New York Ranger again. Some people think he's a jerk. Hell, maybe he is.
But just like Tom Renney can't be his team's coach and their best friend, Sean Avery doesn't have to be everyone's best friend, he just has to be their teammate. A good teammate.
I really don't believe all his teammates hated him, just as I'm sure not everyone loved him. But on the ice, I think they all know he had their back.
For that reason, and the fact that I am still holding - very firmly - to the fact that I think he can be an effective player in this league, I want to see him come back and prove it.
If nothing - if nothing! - else, the Rangers that lack almost any form of passion, excitement, pulse, and drive, should hopefully get all that and more from Sean.
That alone will be reason for many who have, and understandably so, turned off their TVs and stopped watching this team play dead, to come back this season.
I'm sure as this potential situation comes closer to reality, I'll have more comments. We all will. But for now, I'll think back to Larry Brook's quote from late June 2008 in The Post that I commented upon:
"The Rangers can pay Avery now . . . or they can pay for the next four years for not signing him. The choice is theirs. They have approximately 48 hours to make it."
Gee. I mean I honestly wonder which self proclaimed "good game" or "dominating" performance Sather saw that convinced him that he needed to rectify this horrible mistake that he was once warned so clearly against making. . .?