The tweet is below:
The Rangers responded less than 24 hours later when Ryan Callahan issued the following statement:
"Sean Avery's comments solely represent his own thoughts and opinions. He did not speak for us as a team when he was here and certainly does not now"
Here are the facts about the situation:
- The New York Rangers are clearly struggling, and when a very good team doesn't preform up to its expectations the coach generally gets a pretty significant portion of the blame. This point is magnified ever so much more in a sports-crazy city like New York where the media is far more aggressive.
- Avery had a very poor relationship with John Tortorella, at least from what we can gather, and the two obviously didn't mesh well.
- That doesn't mean Tortorella had a vendetta against Avery. By all accounts from many different members of the media Avery had a good relationship with some players and a very bad relationship with others. From what I've been able to gather, most were happy to see him go.
- Avery obviously left on bad terms with the Rangers. He announced he had retired, and refused to sign his retirement papers when Glen Sather sent them to him.
So, with all that in mind, this was the perfect scenario where Avery could come out and extract some revenge. Is it possible Avery has had a conversation with some of his former teammates who told him they don't like playing under Tortorella? Of course it is. Is it likely? Probably not.
In the end, there's no way to tell where Avery's motives were driven from unless you talked to him yourself. I doubt he's going to elabore to anyone, either.
So what we do have is a former players teeing off on a former coach, and the current captain standing up for his coach and team. That's pretty much how any other team in this situation would have handled things.
And while we can't decipher the truth to the matter, we can take a long, hard look to see if this incident will actually spark the Rangers.
The Rangers have been without a consistent battle level all year. It's easy enough to see. Forget the record, the bad losses and the desperate cling to the 8th and fina playoff spot; you can see it on the ice, which is obviously a major problem.
Mats Zuccarello was brought in to help (read: help, not save) the offense. Jesper Fast (if he comes) will be there to bring speed and depth. The Rangers' brass might make a move at the deadline to help get things going. But nothing -- and I mean nothing -- helps spark a team like the locker room being called out.
Say what you will, this is a very proud group of guys. They want to win. They want to better. They won't appreciate being called out by a former player.
Avery continued to go at the Rangers calling their official announcement an "embarrassment."
Is this the spark the Rangers need? Maybe.
I guess we'll find out.