Avery: Playing for Tortorella ‘one of the best things that ever happened to me’


Retired NHLer Sean Avery has little to do with hockey anymore — he says he’s stopped watching entirely — but still has fondness for people from his Ranger days.

One is good friend and business partner Henrik Lundqvist.

The other, surprisingly, is head coach John Tortorella.

“[Tortorella] actually probably was one of the best things that ever happened to me,” Avery told the New York Daily News. “A month after I was done playing, I made the transition to what is a dream job for most people.”

Avery, now a restauranteur (he owns a spot in Tribeca with Lundqvist) and “chief strategic officer” at Manhattan’s Lipman advertising agency, said Torts played a key role in his transition to post-hockey life.

“Part of it was the relationship that I had with him as a coach,” he explained. “It definitely helped me make the transition and have a successful career.”

Those remarks are curious, especially since Avery and Tortorella routinely butted heads during their time together in New York (here’s a good historical recap).

In late March, with the feud seemingly dead and buried, Avery brought it back to life by saying the Rangers needed to “fire this clown” and that “players hate him.”

Torts didn’t respond, but team captain Ryan Callahan did.

“Sean Avery’s comments solely represent his own thoughts and opinions,” Callahan told the The Bergen Record. “He did not speak for us as a team when he was here and certainly does not now.”

It’s hard to imagine what’s changed in less than two months, but Avery sounds as though he’s at peace with hockey no longer being a part of his life.

“I haven’t watched a game since I retired,” he explained. “I have a pretty demanding schedule, a new career. I’m more interested in that, really. I’m immersed in it. I had a great career. I loved playing.

“It’s a great sport, but it has nothing to do with my current life.”

Crosby roars, Malkin scores in OT for Penguins win

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Controversy just seems to find the Pittsburgh Penguins. Credit Sidney Crosby & Co. for responding with a win on Wednesday.

Crosby generated two pretty goals, including this slam-dunk slapper:

… While Evgeni Malkin‘s overtime-winner stood as the Penguins managed a 4-3 overtime win against the St. Louis Blues tonight.

(You can see Malkin’s OT-clincher in the video above this post.)

Will this win and strong performance from Crosby silence murmurs about his relationship with Mario Lemieux? Probably not, yet it likely turns the volume down in some ways, including killing the “Is he struggling because of distractions” storyline.

You know, at least for a little while. Maybe.

Fight video: Claude Giroux vs. Nick Leddy

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Claude Giroux isn’t the nastiest, most physical captain the Philadelphia Flyers have employed. Even so, he can be feisty at times.

Wednesday showed that, as he clearly wasn’t happy with an earlier Nick Leddy hit, and eventually got the New York Islanders defenseman to drop his gloves.

You can see the fight and the check that inspired that scrap in the video above.

It’s the fourth fight Giroux has been a part of, with his most recent adversary being may his most bitter rival.

Not a heavyweight bout between Giroux and Leddy, mind you, but sometimes it’s amusing to soak in such a rare sight.

Carter Hutton gets flipped, stays in game

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Carter Hutton is getting something that might make fellow Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne jealous: goal support.

Still, there was at least one moment where Rinne was likely happy to be on the bench, as Hutton was left flipping during this collision with Buffalo Sabres forward Marcus Foligno:

Remarkably, Hutton remained in the game.

If you’re the type who loves adding to your “hockey players are tough” files, put this under the goalies section.

Check out this incredible shot of that moment:

Update: The Predators held off the Buffalo Sabres to win 3-2.

Habs win big against Rangers, may have lost big with Price hurt

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Tonight was supposed to be about a clash of two Eastern Conference titans who sport arguably the two best goalies in the NHL. That mattered to Montreal Canadiens fans for about half the game against the New York Rangers, give or take a few minutes.

Priorities are now shifting to calling upon higher powers/etc. in hopes that Carey Price is OK.

Mike Condon replaced Price in the third period and … well, people are concerned.

Again, people are pretty worried right now.

Price being replaced isn’t the greatest sign, yet it’s early, so stay tuned for updates. Maybe it will merely be a matter of playing it safe?

Update: The good news is that Montreal won by a significant 5-1 margin.

Yes, that probably isn’t much solace for Habs fans. Agreed.

It sounds like Price re-aggravated his previous injury.