The Sean Avery “sloppy seconds” drama is close to reaching its inevitable conclusion, with the Rangers widely expected to claim him off waivers today. (A team with a worse record could technically land him, but it’s unlikely. We’ll officially learn his fate tomorrow at noon.) But as much as the Rangers hope he can turn their season around (the way he did two years ago), it’s worth remembering that there’s a reason he’s available in the first place. So what kind of antics, shouting matches, and blowups can we expect in his second term in New York? A guide, after the jump.
Avery vs. Coach John Tortorella
The most likely candidate for an ugly, public fight. Unlike previous coach Tom Renney, Tortorella has an explosive personality and isn’t afraid to be blunt if a player, say, takes a dumb penalty. Also, while working as a TV analyst during Sloppy Secondsgate, Torts had this to say about Avery:
The league stepped up here and I think they did the right thing. Enough is enough. He’s embarrassed himself, he’s embarrassed the organization, he’s embarrassed the league and he’s embarrassed his teammates, who have to look out for him. Send him home. He doesn’t belong in the league.
Avery vs. Backup Goalie Stephen Valiquette
When the Stars visited the Garden in October, Avery treated the Rangers like any other opponent, running his mouth to get under their skin. One of his targets was Valiquette, whom he called a “minor leaguer.” And it’s not like Avery can’t goad a teammate into fighting: He once got even-tempered Marek Malik to drop the gloves at practice.
Avery vs. MSG Announcer John Giannone
Avery was a busy guy when Dallas came to town earlier this season; he also found time to get into a shouting match with Giannone — one serious enough that another player had to intervene. (Reportedly, Avery started everything.) Between the Post’s Larry Brooks’s history with Tortorella and Giannone’s with Avery, the media coverage of this team has the potential to get very interesting.
Avery vs. Devils Goalie Martin Brodeur
Since his infamous “I’m not touching you” routine in last year’s playoffs — which led Brodeur to snub Avery on the series-ending handshake line, and Avery to call his opponent “fatso” in a subsequent interview — the two have met just once. But that was a meaningless early-season game between teams in separate conferences. They’ll likely meet again on March 30 at the Garden, and playoff positioning could be on the line. One can assume Avery’s looking into whether laser pointers are explicitly against NHL rules.
Avery vs. Montreal Defenseman Mike Komisarek
All of this began with Avery’s crude (but entirely true) observation that several other hockey players have, at some point, dated his ex-girlfriends. For the most part, though, Elisha Cuthbert and Rachel Hunter have stuck to the men of the Western Conference — with one exception: Komisarek, who has been romantically linked to Cuthbert. The Rangers play the Canadiens two more times this season, but Avery better be careful here. He’s tough and all, but considering the company some of Komisarek’s teammates reportedly keep, Avery may want to have someone start his car for him.