Rangers consider bringing back Avery

Just when you think the Sean Avery affair was dead and buried, published reports on Friday have the New York Rangers – Avery’s former club – exploring the possibility of bringing him back.

Who says you can’t go home again?

Avery has always been the kind of player who you adore when he’s on your team, but hate when he’s playing against you.

Here’s the rub … Avery is a prick. Plain and simple. And he’s an equal-opportunity prick, whether it’s drawing the ire of a black player (see: Laraque, Georges) or future Hall of Fame goaltender (Brodeur, Martin) or disparaging a former girlfriend with his now-infamous ‘sloppy seconds’ comment that ended his career with the Dallas Stars just 23 games into a four-year, $15.5 million deal.

Bad boy behavior aside, he also brings something with him. An edge, a fire, some passion, something the Rangers have been sorely lacking for much of this season.

Call it what you want – that lack of emotion was never more evident than on Friday night when the Rangers looked overmatched and, at times, disinterested in a 10-2 loss to Dallas.

The 10 goals were the most allowed by New York in one game since April 9, 1993 when Mario Lemieux scored five and Joe Mullen added three in a 10-4 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

New York hadn’t allowed 10 on the road since March 6, 1993 in a 10-2 defeat to the Quebec Nordqiues.

Coach Tom Renney was saying all the right things on Friday, not making any effort to hide his disgust.

“The message is loud and clear,” he said. “We have to get back to square one. You can’t be any more disappointed than what happened tonight. We want to be a playoff team.

“We all have to step up. Right now.”

After giving up six goals in the final 20 minutes, they cannot to take any more steps back. New York is in fifth place in the Eastern Conference, but have just a two-point lead over the Philadelphia Flyers and Buffalo Sabres.

The Rangers acquired Avery from the Los Angeles Kings just over two years ago. His career with the Broadway Blueshirts lasted all of 86 games after they chose not to resign him.

New York’s record with Avery: 50-23-13.

But getting him back won’t guarantee anything – the Rangers also had Jaromir Jagr and Brendan Shanahan around to provide offense while Avery hasn’t scored more than 18 goals in a season.

Plus, there’s a maze that must be completed before Avery ever sets foot on an NHL rink.

Avery must complete NHL-NHLPA behavioral modification program: So now more referring to players as monkeys, or waving sticks in their faces, or spilling bedroom secrets.

Must be placed on waivers and clear them: This will likely happen. If there were another team other than the Rangers who were interested in Avery and could handle his salary, a deal almost certainly would have happened.

Must be assigned to an AHL affiliate: The Stars don’t have one since leaving Iowa prior to this season. Avery could end up anywhere from Hartford to Grand Rapids to Houston.

Loaned to another AHL affiliate, but remains property of the Stars: I’m waiting for him to be exiled to Manitoba. (Nothing against the fine folk in Winnipeg, mind you.)

If he’s claimed while in minors, new team and Dallas must each pay half his salary: Each club would be on the hook for roughly $1.9 million.

For the Rangers, this could be the equivalent of selling their souls. Given their recent play, they may need to do so in order to save their season.

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