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.”

Tortorella admits Rangers got ‘spanked’ in OT


New York Rangers head coach John Tortorella said that his team matched up pretty well against the Boston Bruins in Game 1 … until everything unraveled in overtime.

“I thought it was pretty even going into overtime, but we got spanked in overtime,” Tortorella said.

It’s pretty hard to argue with that logic, even if you just notice the Bruins’ 16-5 shot advantage when things went into sudden death mode.

Brad Marchand ended up scoring the OT winner to finish it up 3-2, but the Bergen Record’s Andrew Gross reports that Tortorella believes things really fell apart when the Bruins produced a flurry of chances on an OT power-play opportunity.

“We never regrouped,” Tortorella said. “It was a surge, we couldn’t stop it.”

The Rangers hope for better results against the Bruins in Game 2 on Sunday.

Oates: I’d ‘easily’ beat up Tortorella in a fight


Washington Capitals head coach Adam Oates is not a big John Tortorella fan.

Responding to Tortorella’s claim that Washington was “whining” about a lack of power plays in the Eastern Conference quarterfinal, Oates told Washington’s 106.7 The Fan radio that the Rangers coach was “out of line” with his comments.

Oh yeah, he also said he could beat up Torts in a fight — easily.

Here’s more, from CBS Washington:

When asked by LaVar [Arrington} and [Chad] Dukes what he thinks about Torts openly trashing his team, he had a response ready to go.

“Well, I think he’s out of line,” Oates said. “He should be worried about his own series. We didn’t whine once during the series. I never complained. I don’t know, did you guys ever hear me complain about officiating?”

“Not you, no,” Chad Dukes answered.

“No? Ovi did after Game Seven,” he continued. “No one complained before any game. I met with a supervisor before Game Seven. You meet with a supervisor before every single game. We never complained about anything.”

But his response to Lavar’s next question really turns it up a notch.

Lavar: Coach, I just want to know… would you beat him up in a one-on-one situation?

Oates: Yes. Easily.

You can listen to the audio here but, as CBS Washington points out, Oates doesn’t sound like he’s joking or playing around with his answer.

In case you’re curious, Tortorella goes 5-foot-8, 175 pounds. Oates is 5-foot-11, 190 pounds.