Above the bar at Warren 77, the downtown watering hole co-owned by Sean Avery, there’s a photo of him scoring a goal on his nemesis, Martin Brodeur. We mention this for two reasons: It’s awesome, and it’s all the proof you need that Avery knows how to hold a grudge. So the fact that he exploded for four points last night against the Dallas Stars really shouldn’t be a surprise.
Dallas, you may recall, signed Avery prior to last season. He played 23 games for the Stars before his crude (if factually correct) “sloppy seconds” comments earned him a suspension and a ticket out of Dallas. (He was waived, and the Rangers and Stars are now splitting his salary.) Last night, in his first game against his former team, Avery scored the Rangers’ first goal of the game to tie the score at one (his first goal in nineteen games), then added assists on the next three Rangers goals in the 5–2 victory. The last of these assists was particularly smooth: Avery carried the puck towards the corner, spun around to lose the defender, and fired a perfect pass through the crease to Chris Drury for the tip in.
Avery’s big night was made all the more impressive by the fact that he spent a fifth of the game in the penalty box, mostly the result of a ten-minute misconduct he earned for bumping Jere Lehtinen after Ales Kotalik scored to give the Rangers a 3–2 lead. Said Stars goalie Marty Turco: “I would have loved to have seen that delinquent do that for us last year.”
Avery, speaking in the third person, was exactly right when he said that “it was the way that Sean Avery needs to play.” After all, he must be twice as frustrating to opponents when he’s both yapping and scoring. Speaking of yapping, we’ll leave you with one final Avery quote, on what was different about this particular game: “Well, I was getting paid by two teams.”