For those who credit the recall of Sean Avery to the New York Rangers with the team turning around their slow start this season to be 17-6-4 through 27 games there should be cause for concern that Avery might be sent away again. Coach John Tortorella scratched Avery for last night’s game, replacing him with Erik Christensen, but more than the scratch itself, the reasoning should concern Avery supporters.
“I don’t think Sean’s been dead on. Having said that, he hasn’t had a bunch of ice time. I’m just having problems finding ice for him. I have other guys filling the areas and doing the things that I need done and I’m a little concerned about shootouts. We’ve struggled a little bit there so I’m going to put Erik in and see where we go from it.Sean played some good games for us when he came up. I think it’s leveled off but I’m trying to be fair to him also with you guys. I haven’t put him on the ice, it’s awfully difficult to play that way. But I have other players doing the things I need done in situations that Sean is just not getting involved in.”
The key aspect that Avery has brought to the Rangers has been his energy, some pest play and the occasional scrap, but if Tortorella is finding those pieces from other players right now and Mike Rupp is also on the mend you have to wonder how long Avery will remain. Fear over shootouts is what has saved Erik Christensen before and appears to giving him yet another opportunity to play in case the Rangers have to use the skill competition to get an additional point.
For the most part Avery has been effective, even in limited ice time, this season, but the stage appears to be set for him to be removed when Mike Rupp returns and can add his own level of grit and fighting to the lineup.