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Morning Papers take

Morning Papers Take: Avery returns to Calgary

This week Sean Avery returns to Calgary, the same city he uttered comments about Elisha Cuthbert which saw him exiled from the NHL for a little while. Some make issue of Avery’s comments, I take issue with Avery’s overstated importance to the Rangers. More after the jump…

In this morning’s Eastern Conference Morning Papers, Larry Brooks of the NY Post chimed in on Sean Avery’s upcoming return to Calgary:

Amateur psychologists and columnists, the worst kinds of those sorts, labeled Avery a misogynist. He was, don’t you know, the worst hockey person who had ever lived!

“I was back in New York almost immediately and except for the time I spent in counseling, I basically sheltered myself in the city for the next few months from everything that was going on in around me,” Avery said. “I called Elisha to apologize and explain myself, and she was great.

“She was cool about it. She’s great.”

Avery said he had neither spoken to Phaneuf in the aftermath of the incident nor has any intention of doing so. He laughed when asked if he had needed to call various former girlfriends to explain himself. “No, only [Elisha].

If you read the rest of the article, the first thing that comes to mind is how contrived his apology was last season.  He clearly provided the apology to appease those around him because he doesn’t appear to be the least bit remorseful.  Now, I’ll admit that the comments weren’t exactly harmful and that I’m sure Avery has said a lot worse (especially on the ice), but it was still unnecessary and uncalled for.  Not so much to Dion Phaneuf or Elisha Cuthbert, but as an NHL player who is supposed to set an example for kids.

My bigger issue is the alleged importance of Avery to the Rangers’ lineup–continually mentioned by Larry Brooks over the past couple years.  Now, I admit that his talent is masked by the fact that he seems to be the most hated player in the league, but under John Tortorella he is not exactly a gamebreaker (not that he was before either).  I mean, Avery has played 13:12 minutes per game this season and while he has quietly contributed nicely at even strength, can we finally put to bed his overall importance to the Rangers?  I’m pretty sure players like Gaborik, Lundqvist, Staal, Prospal and Girardi are more important to the club’s chances than a talkative player that hardly can make the team’s power play unit.

Let’s be honest, very few people are hoping that Dion Phaneuf doesn’t line Avery at mid-ice for a nice clean bodycheck.  Wouldn’t that be sweet justice?