In the course of every postseason run, in every sport, a coach is faced with making a drastic decision, a decision that can alter the fate of his team.
In the 2006 playoffs, after seeing his starting goaltender Martin Gerber give up 6 goals in each of the first two games of the opening round against Montreal, Canes coach Peter Laviolette made the switch to rookie goalie Cam Ward, and all he did was go 15-8 and lead the Canes to the Cup.
In this series, Caps coach Bruce Boudreau made a similar move after Game One, benching Jose Theodore for rookie goaltender Simeon Varlamov. In 2 games, the Rangers have solved him once. He's lifted the Caps back into this series, and suddenly what was once a huge advantage between the pipes for the Rangers has narrowed, perhaps enough to swing this series in the other direction. Remember what tmranger told us the other day, be careful what you wish for.
After last night's embarrassing performance on home ice, John Tortorella needs to shake up his team.
He needs to bench Sean Avery for Game 4, and if necessary, for the rest of the series.
Certainly Avery is not solely to blame for last night's loss. There is plenty of blame to go around, but last night, Sean Avery put himself above the team, sucker punching John Erskine, then pulling a "Kansas City Shuffle" on Varlamov towards the end of the game. Avery's 3 penalties in the 2nd period helped stall whatever chance the Rangers had of getting back in the game. The Rangers are not a high scoring team, goals don't come easy to this bunch, and they can ill afford to spend almost a half a period a game killing off dumb penalties, not when they've scored one goal the last two games.
Everyone talks about the fine line Avery has to walk, knowing what he can and can't get away with. Last night he crossed that line, doing it at the worst possible time. His "antics" and I hate using that term, but it's the best way to describe it, last night were inexcusable.
Sean Avery is a talented hockey player, capable of providing offense. He is also an annoying pain in the butt, prone to dumb mistakes both on and off the ice. You can't have one without the other with him. But when you are getting too much of the latter, and not nearly enough of the former, a change needs to be made.
The Rangers by my estimation have two call-ups left in their pocket. I think it's time to use one, and get Artem Anisimov or another forward up from Hartford and see if they can provide a spark without all the drama. I'm not saying doing this is going to put the Rangers on a guaranteed path to Lord Stanley's Cup, but 5 goals in 3 games isn't going to cut it, changes need to be made, and this is the best place to start.
John Tortorella needs to make the statement that no one is above the team. He needs to bench Sean Avery.