Friday, December 4, 2009

Avery makes A VERY quick exit from the top line

I try to be positive. I really do. I know that virtually (Editor - when Dave Pucks says "virtually" he means "almost") every other Ranger Blog is dominated by too much ranting and not nearly enough raving. I figure you have enough negativity in your real life. You root for the Rangers for entertainment. You don't need to hear your fellow Rangers fans constantly running down your team. There are already plenty of Devil and Islander fans ready to do that for you.

Anyway - I've been mostly positive about John Tortorella. I know he's been called rude and arrogant and impulsive - but I like the fact that he speaks his mind and let's his players know when he doesn't like what they're doing. In short - he coaches - all the time - and we see him doing it. And usually I like what I'm seeing. At least he's trying to get us better.

And of course I loved it when he finally promoted my favorite Ranger Sean Avery to the first line. We've been calling for this move for a while. Avery is perfect on the first line:

He digs in the corners and behind the net. He gets the dirty work done and gives up the body to do it. And more often than not - Sean comes up with the puck and delivers it to his line mates in a good position to shoot.

Sean also screens, harasses, and otherwise bothers opposing goalies. Sean is a player who will park himself in a position to screen the goalie - even though he gets hit doing it. And if a defender pushes Avery he always managed to lose his balance in such a way that he falls directly on the net minder - he may be the best man who ever lived at this particular skill.

And also, Sean, with his antics and the bizarre, horrendous comments that come streaming out of his mouth - attracts attention from opposing players. In fact he is probably the only player in the NHL who could attract an opponent’s attention away from Marian Gaborik. Which is also a very good thing.

What I'm trying to say is that I loved Torts move of Sean to the top line. Great idea.

And it produced instant results. Against the world champs Gaborik got an even strength goal and Avery the assist. (I'm not counting Gab’s PowerPlay goal - that's not with the regular first line).

So: Avery promoted. Instant success. And what does Tortorella do? He demotes Avery back to line two.


And I'm sorry but I just don't get it. I mean - I can't begin to figure out what reasoning the decision was based on. Is one goal in one game not enough production for the top line? And is the one-game try-out enough time to properly evaluate the unit? Isn’t there any value at all to letting a line develop some chemistry – to let them stick together so that can learn each other’s tendencies and improve? I mean, come on. It’s not like they didn’t score. And I'm not talking a month here. Give the guys a few games to see what they can do as a unit.

So there's no other way to say it. This is a dumb move by Coach Tortorella. It makes absolutely no sense. Who is he sending a message to? What should Sean take away from this demotion? That his Coach is nuts? That Torts assigned his lines semi-randomly? These are not the messages you want to send to your players – especially the volatile Mr. Avery.

It’s a move that makes me really question - for the first time - if Tortorella has any idea what he's doing.

So, come on John – I’m trying to be positive here. Come to your senses. Keep Sean on the top line.

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