The New York Rangers confirmed today that winger Sean Avery has been placed on waivers, according to Blueshirtsunited.com.
“To me, we have a better team now, and I think we have better players than Sean Avery,” said head coach John Tortorella. “I don’t want to throw dirt on the guy, and Sean had a very good camp, but our depth has put Sean in this spot. We are a better club now.”
Erik Christensen will remain with the team as the spare forward.
“Erik is a guy who can play on the power play, can help on shootouts- which has been a very big thing for this club the past couple of years- and maybe I can bump him into the top six forwards,” Tortorella said. “There are a number of things Erik can do.”
I’ll throw my two cents in after, but Larry Brooks at the New York Post, who broke the story, said it best.
Tortorella, who essentially had Avery forced on him as a condition of taking the job with the Rangers in February of 2009 after general manager Glen Sather had committed to reacquiring No. 16 from the Stars, never could find a comfort level with the winger, whose role became more and more marginalized.
The coach never could find the way to get the most out of Avery and never could find a comfort level with the winger’s unique brand of risk/reward hockey. Avery was scratched last year in six of the final 12 games and the first playoff match after getting less than 10:00 of ice in 12 of the last 14 games in which he played. Tortorella came into this year’s camp determined to have a low-maintenance team.
Now for my take. I think it’s a bad decision made purely out of spite. Tortorella has hated Avery since he arrived back on Broadway, and he hasn’t really hid it. I know Tortorella is brash and honest, but his comments made to the media in regards to Avery are disrespectful to a player who played his heart out every shift.
Are the Rangers a better team with a spare forward who has all the skill in the world but managed to score 11 goals last season? I’m not really sure. Christensen has been given all the chances in the world in New York, even centering a player like Marian Gaborik, and has proven time-and-time again that he is never going to live up to his talent. Imagine Christensen playing every sixth or seventh game? He’ll finish with 3 goals this season.
As for Weise, Bickel and Bell? I can’t say I care much for any of them. Weise was never truly given the chance to play here, but appears to be nothing more than a third-liner who can’t win a fight. The good news is that he’s out in Vancouver, so if he turns into the next P.A. Parenteau, we’ll only see him once a year.