As a person who occasionally enjoys needling others here and there, I can understand the fact that New York Rangers pest Sean Avery felt some disappointment (for lack of a better word) by the relatively tepid response from Dallas Stars fans during the teams’ game last night.
After all, Avery is the kind of agitator who is paid to get under people’s skin. If he isn’t getting jeered mercilessly, it almost feels like he isn’t really doing his job.
In case you aren’t well-versed in the history of hockey irritants, Avery briefly played for the Dallas Stars after then co-general manager Brett Hull campaigned for his addition. It was pretty much a full-fledged disaster, though, so the team decided to let him go on re-entry waivers and pay half of his salary for the remainder of his contract. Avery was back with the Rangers in less than a season after leaving the 2008-09 Stars in a state of disrepair.
(Of course, that Stars team had more problems than just Avery, but the convenient thing about the pest is that you can place as little or as much blame upon him as you’d like. Dallas chose to place a ton of it on his shoulders.)
Avery discussed the lukewarm disgust from Dallas fans with Larry Brooks today.
“They didn’t even a have a sign,” Avery said, shrugging, following the Rangers’ 3-2 shootout victory over the Stars last night. “The crowd was kind of boring, I’d have to say.”
Avery was booed whenever he touched the puck in his 11:15 of work, but not with the ferocity that greeted Jaromir Jagr when he returned to Washington or Pittsburgh with the Rangers and not with the ferocity that greeted Wayne Gretzky when The Great One returned to St. Louis with the Blueshirts.
The loudest noise of the night came when Avery, who played much of the game with Artem Anisimov and Marian Gaborik, was ridden hard into the boards by Stephane Robidas approximately 4:30 into the third period.
Actually, Avery’s return was trumped by the Stars’ reacquisition of 1999 Cup-winning Star and 2003 Cup-winning Devil Jamie Langenbrunner, who came back to Dallas from New Jersey after nearly nine years. The trade was announced before the morning skate.
Then again, when you consider the fact that Stars fans haven’t exactly shown up in droves for a team that leads the Pacific Division, it shouldn’t be that surprising that they failed to raise much ire for a former villain.