Rangers Rumors & News
This entry was posted on Thursday, March 29th, 2007 at 11:53 pm and is filed under Hockey, Rangers Rumors & News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

(AP Photo/Gregory Smith)

In his column today, The New York Post‘s Larry Brooks lauds the impact that Sean Avery has had on the Rangers since his acquisition on February 5th. Here on HSNY, we were all for adding an abrasive dimension that had been lacking on this squad for two seasons, and we were encouraged by the words of Brendan Shanahan, who played with Avery in Detroit and had nothing but praise for the forward. Nevertheless, Avery arrived amid questions about his attitude and personality, and with a rap sheet hard to ignore.

In his short time here, Avery has put those fears to bed, and as Brooks says, he “has not only established himself as one of the Rangers’ go-to players on the ice and in the room, he has established himself as a forward who makes his linemates better.”

Brooks informs us that in a poll published by The Hockey News this week, Avery was named by his peers as the NHL’s most overrated player. Clearly the pesky, annoying, and sometimes dirty player has won few friends around the league en route to completely changing the culture of a Blueshirt team seemingly locked in a moribund season ticketed for disaster prior to his arrival. The news likely won’t bother Avery, and it doesn’t bother Ranger fans one bit. They’ve watched their team awaken from its season-long coma overnight and have celebrated the forward at home like a conquering hero.

In wake of Tuesday’s defeat to Montreal, coach Tom Renney is expected to mix up his lines, perhaps moving Marty Straka to the 2nd line pivot in favor of reinserting north-south power forward Brad Isbister on Jaromir Jagr‘s left wing. The move would most likely bump Avery from center back to the wing, and bump another forward out of the lineup altogether. It’s a difficult dilemma for the coaching staff. Says Brooks of the likely scratch:

But who would it be? Not likely Ryan Hollweg against the Flyers. Certainly not Colton Orr. Jed Ortmeyer, who could probably use a breather, is too important killing penalties, isn’t he? Petr Prucha is on the first power-play unit. Who? [Ryan] Callahan?

If only Avery weren’t so overrated, perhaps the decisions would come easier for Renney.

Incidentally, on his blog Rangers Report, Journal News reporter Sam Weinman tells us that the lines the Rangers used at practice today were as follows: Isbister-Nylander-Jagr, Avery-Straka-Shanahan, Prucha-Cullen-Callahan, Hollweg-Betts-Orr. However Weinman also informs us that Ortmeyer missed the practice with a sore knee, so those combinations could change day-to-day.

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