Friday, August 19, 2011

Finding The Right Balance Is Key For Avery's Future With Rangers

Yesterday it was announced that Sean Avery would not face charges in Los Angeles for the alleged incident that had occurred on August 6th.  Avery was accused of battering a police officer, but as it turned out the problem was all the officers who was presumed to have a level of credibility he did not deserve while Avery was presumed to have a level of guilt that contradicts our justice system.  You are still innocent until proven guilty, though in the court of public opinion it doesn’t work that way anymore.  The question now is not about the incident or the false headlines that came out of it, but what if any difference the whole thing has on Avery’s career with the Rangers.

After his I openly wondered if his arrest and alleged charges against Avery in questioning whether it would mark the end of his tenure with the Rangers.  With the charges dropped the entire series of events should have no bearing on his standing with the team or the organization, but does it change the precariousness of his spot on the roster for the upcoming season? 

At his best Avery is extremely valuable to the Rangers both in what he can do directly for them and what he indirectly does in getting into the minds of the opposition.  The biggest problem for Avery is that he has not seen that level enough over the past few seasons to be assured of a spot in the lineup.  Part of the issue for Avery is that he has been asked to reign in some of the antics that go along with him being the pestering player he is and stay on the right side of the line.   Coach John Tortorella wants the good parts of what Avery does both for himself and the team, but wants that without any of the penalties that have the potential to put the team in precarious positions.  In a perfect world that would be the best outcome for the team, but one has to wonder if Avery is capable of consistently doing both.

In moving back towards that level he has lost some of the edge he played with at his best.  There has yet to be a consistent point where Avery could find the balance between the agitator role he had seemingly perfected during his first stint with the Rangers and the player that can do that without occasionally hurting the team.  If Avery cannot find that balance in training camp and preseason he might find himself off the roster for the 2011-12 season.  

Ultimately that fact will be decided over the next few months and until then the benefit of the doubt should go to Avery remaining on the roster as it should have to his innocence in the face of the alleged allegations.