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 Rangers to Keep Lineup; Avery Won’t Play

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PostSubject: Rangers to Keep Lineup; Avery Won’t Play   Rangers to Keep Lineup; Avery Won’t Play I_icon_minitimeThu Nov 03, 2011 6:11 am

GREENBURGH, N.Y. — Sean Avery will not play for the Rangers on Thursday, Coach John Tortorella said. But Avery is fine with that. He is simply happy to be back with the team.
“Really, the guys played pretty good last game,” Avery said after practice Wednesday, a day after clearing waivers. “They had a big win, so I wouldn’t change the lineup.”

Avery skated with the Rangers for the first time since being demoted to their American Hockey League affiliate before the start of the season. “We have better players than Sean Avery,” Tortorella said at the time, and many observers believed, including Avery himself, that he had worn a Rangers sweater for the last time.

But there he was wearing that sweater again at the practice rink, called up to provide spark after the team trudged through its first nine games and fans chanted for his return.

“Listen, I’ve loved every game I’ve ever played for this team,” Avery said. “I just want to help these guys win, just want to play my game, play as hard as I can and help them win.”

Avery will have to wait a bit. In Game 10, Monday’s 5-2 victory against San Jose, the Rangers had their best performance of the season. So Erik Christensen and Andre Deveaux will keep their places in the lineup Thursday against Anaheim. Avery, who skated with them and with Artem Anisimov in practice, will watch from the Madison Square Garden press box.

“That was the biggest strength of the game: everybody contributed,” Tortorella said after telling reporters that he would dress the same lineup against the Ducks.

Avery, unusually expansive in a six-minute session before a phalanx of reporters, said: “We’re all here because we want to play for the Rangers. I love this team. I want to play. I want to win. I want to play as hard as I possibly can, and that’s just what it comes down to.”

He added later: “I know a lot of things happened to me over my career. I never rule anything out. Decisions that are out of your control are always out of your control. All you can try to do is work them out and stay positive. I have learned that as time goes on. I just try to work hard. I usually find if that’s the case, good things are going to happen.”

Avery’s game is about his speed, forechecking and, most of all, agitating. That last quality has made him one of the most disliked players in the league, but also a huge favorite with Garden fans.

But he may not quite be the magic bullet fans believe him to be. In two previous stints with the Rangers dating to 2006-7, the Rangers won 129 of 249 games with Avery in the lineup, or 52 percent. Without Avery, including the 10 games this season, they won 27 of 54, or 50 percent.

Tortorella said Avery had been recalled largely because Mike Rupp, a big, physical forward, is out with a knee injury. He said he looked at Avery’s return as being no different from that of any other player, although he understood why more was being made of it.

“Fans and media have their favorite players, and they have players they want to grind on,” Tortorella said. “Doesn’t matter. It’s not going to change my decision-making. You cannot run a business that way.”

Goalie Henrik Lundqvist said it felt “more normal” to have Avery around.

“Sean is bringing something that no other players have in the league,” he said. “He has a lot of edge to his game.”

Avery, relaxed and happy, said he was glad to see his old teammates, some of whom will soon become fathers.

“That was really interesting — there’s a lot of babies coming,” Avery said. Then, pausing for effect, he said, “Not mine.”

It is not often that reporters have heard Avery make a joke. But that’s a measure of how glad he is to be a Ranger again.http://farera.forumotion.com/t44-rangers-to-keep-lineup-avery-wont-play
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