Sean Avery played tonight to the excessive delight of New York Rangers fans, but you’d have to stretch the boundaries of reason to say that he made a difference in their 5-3 win against the Montreal Canadiens. According to the box score, Avery delivered one hit, landed one shot on goal and received less than five minutes of ice time.
If you want an analogy for John Tortorella and Glen Sather’s cold war regarding the use of Avery, here’s an attempt: it’s the equivalent to a middle manager begrudgingly giving a troubled employee a second shot because that guy is his boss’s nephew.
Avery is a headline maker on skates – and yes, he does possess some hockey talent, although that caveat has been beaten to death at this point – but it’s unlikely that he’ll get too far out of Torts’ doghouse this season.
In a way it’s a great thing because it deflects attention from the Rangers’ other problems (see: Staal, Marc), but few players boast such a warped production-to-attention ratio. This season might be Avery’s last chance to keep that spotlight shining on him, though, so we’ll see if he can make the most of his opportunities – however limited they may be.