Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sean Avery is back in a New York Groove

The New York Rangers' Sean Avery made a return to New York this city, making a stop at NHL HQ.

This time, instead of paying a visit to commissioner Gary Bettman and "truant officer" Colin Campbell, the Rangers forward had an enjoyable visit at the league's NHL Powered by Reebok store located next to the league's headquarters.

He had stopped in to make an appearance on the weekly Sirius-XM radio talk show Ice Breakers, hosted by ex-NHLers Ron Duguay and Ken Daneyko.

Avery has been critical of the NHL's marketing tactics in the past, suggesting the league focus on villain-like players as well as well-known stars.

He has since appeared to have softened his stance, and even though he was right in the shadow of NHL headquarters it wasn't because the league chose to focus a promo on him.

"All of that stuff is out of my hands at this point," Avery said after his radio appearance.

"If I come in and do an interview, I represent the Rangers and represent New York. I'm not concerned about who is doing their job or who isn't doing their job. I did enough worrying about that and it didn't really get me anywhere. They can go in whatever direction they feel like."

The 29-year-old reflected on the Rangers dismal playoff performance, where they blew a 3-1 series lead and still lost in seven games to Washington.

"Usually for a couple of days you're bummed out about it and you play over all the games in your head three or four times, but I went away and it's kind of out of my system," Avery said.

"I'm more excited about next year than dwelling on last year."

After taking a week's vacation in Jamaica, he returned to New York for the radio appearance and also to open a new downtown bar and restaurant called Warren 77.

Apparently the restaurant opening had more people attending than the"Save the Coyotes" rally in Phoenix.

With his early season critic, John Tortarella, now behind the Rangers bench, Avery had nothing but positives for his new bench boss.

"One of the most important things that has happened to me in my career so far, and I'm extremely grateful, is Tortorella," Avery told Duguay and Daneyko on their talk show.

"It was funny, because he was on me right from the get-go, checking in on me. Torts would check in and just make sure I'm there. That's what makes a good coach."

With some undisciplined penalties in game four, Avery found himself sitting out game five.

The winger had no arguments with his coaches decision.

"I knew after that game, if he didn't scratch me, it would be a mistake for our team, not this year but next year and the year after that," he said.

"Whatever he's instilling now is something that had to be done. It was in the middle of the playoffs and I put myself and the team in jeopardy, but he had to do it."

Avery admitted he played less aggressive in game six, but was back in form for game seven.

"No way would I ever go into a game being gun-shy again," Avery said.

"The worst thing you can ever do as a player is to question yourself, and I did."

Tortorella has sternly told the Rangers squad to be in top condition before they report for what will be an intense training camp in September.

Still having three years to go in his contract, Avery is eager to get back in the game next season.

"I'm excited about it," Avery said.

"All of the stuff that happened this year is just going to help me to become a better player. With Torts thrown into the equation and (general manager) Glen Sather, these guys are all here to help me and it feels good to have that support system and have an organization behind you.

"That's what makes being a Ranger so special. Moving forward, that is going to be emphasized so much more."

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