Sean Avery

Sean Avery was at the Rangers home opener in spirit and banner form


If Sean Avery was to give an Oscar-like speech, it might go something like, “You guys like me. You really, really like me!”

There was an immense show of support some Rangers fans showed for him during last night’s home opener in the form of a massive banner as Mike Mazzeo of ESPN shared.

As a fan named Don shared in the story, he feels that the Rangers need a spark plug-like guy like Avery in their lineup to keep the team going. Don isn’t the only one feeling that way either as Henrik Lundqvist more or less said the same thing.

“We have players that can bring spark here for this group,” Henrik Lundqvist said after the Rangers were drubbed, 4-2, in their home opener by Toronto. “Obviously, Aves he is one of a kind when it comes to playing the game the way he plays it, and he brings a lot to the table. He’s a great player obviously, but right now the management thinks this is the best team possible and we’re just gonna go with that.”

Seeing fans respond that way for any player they feel the team needs is nothing new. But supporting Sean Avery? That’s a new one. Avery upsetting opposing fans is nothing new, but getting even the home fans to rally around him that way is stunning.

Do the Rangers need him though? Given that there’s a rotation of guys no contributing a whole lot to the team in Kris Newbury, Erik Christensen, and occasionally Wojtek Wolski… Maybe there’s a place in New York for Sean Avery after all. After what coach John Tortorella has said about Avery this year, however, there might be more appearances by banners in Madison Square Garden this season than there will be from Avery.

It looks like Havlat won’t make Panthers

Martin Havlat
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As PHT’s mentioned before, the Florida Panthers stand as a fascinating contrast between youth and experience.

Let’s not kid ourselves, though; fresh faces usually beat out gray beards, at least when it comes to teams that are still trying to build toward contender status.

While it’s by no means official, two Panthers beat writers – the Miami Herald’s George Richards and the Florida Sun-Sentinel’s Harvey Fialkov – report that the Panthers are likely to pass on Martin Havlat.

It wasn’t just about the likes of Jonathan Huberdeau and Nick Bjugstad leading the charge. Other young Panthers (maybe most notably Quinton Howden and Connor Brickley) made the team, thus making Havlat less necessary.

One would assume that it might be tough for the 34-year-old to find work, at least if he insists upon only an NHL deal.

Health issues continue to dog him, but he’s no longer one of those guys who tantalizes with talent when he is healthy enough to play.

Havlat also doesn’t really bring much to the table defensively. While other veterans can kill penalties and show a little more verstaility, Havlat’s greatest selling point is scoring.

Could this be it for a solid career that may nonetheless end with a “What if?” or two?

Silfverberg is set to practice again after Torres hit

Jakob Silfverberg
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Considering all of the controversy surrounding the 41-game suspension for Raffi Torres, some might have lost track of the guy who received that hit: Jakob Silfverberg.

The good news is that, at the moment, it seems like he’s OK.

The Anaheim Ducks announced that he skated on his own and will be involved in the team’s next practice:

That falls in line with some of the fall-out from the hit, as head coach Bruce Boudreau let out a relieved “thank goodness” at the young forward seemingly dodging a bullet.

Here’s video of the hit and the suspension decision:

Silfverberg, 24, enjoyed a nice breakout in 2014-15, especially during the playoffs.

Keep in mind that injuries can sometimes crop up later than expected, especially potential head injuries/concussions. Still, it seems like the initial reaction is that the damage was minimal.