The Rangers so far this year have been, in a word, uninspiring. They head into tonight’s game with San Jose with a 3-3-3 record and being a perfectly average hockey team. They finally got big games out of Marian Gaborik and Brad Richards, but they ended up blowing a big lead in the third period of that game to lose in a shootout.
No focus, no fire, no consistency. These are big issues for the Rangers and today they’ll likely be putting Sean Avery on re-entry waivers in hopes to get him back to play on Thursday. Is he the guy that can help snap the team out of their funk and get their act together?
It can’t hurt, that’s for sure. Avery’s role as a tenacious forechecker and agitator are two things this Rangers squad lacks. They don’t necessarily have a guy that will pressure the puck carrier in all zones nor anyone that can truly get under an opponents skin leading to power play opportunities thanks to retaliation calls. It also might get the fans to relax a bit on calling out John Tortorella.
Like him or not, he’s an effective player when focused. Therein lies the challege for Tortorella with Avery – finding a way to keep him on track and getting the Rangers turned around.
We’ll find out by noon tomorrow if the Rangers get that opportunity. If they get to hang on to Avery, we’ll see if Avery getting demoted to start the year is the kick in the pants he needed. Making Tortorella look like he made a big mistake should be motivation enough for Avery.