Thursday, July 03, 2008

Thoughts on the Avery Signing...

Time is short this morning, but for those who missed the show yesterday, I wanted to offer a take or two on the Sean Avery signing.

All in all, I like it. I think to get a player of great talent, who plays his butt off every night, and is only 28, signed for 4 years is nothing but a positive.

If you read this space, you know that I was assuming that Todd Bertuzzi was more in their price range, so for the Stars to offer up that sort of contract can only be good to a team that doesn’t have many holes anyway.

Avery has baggage, no doubt, and it will take a while for his mates to fully embrace him since they have had run ins (Ott, Morrow), but, overall, despite the contract being a bit more than I would have thought, I think they got a player that only makes them better.

I have plenty of emails from people not into it, who would have rather kept Nik Hagman, and have promised not to support Avery ever.

Well, first, ask 1,000,000 hockey people, and none of them will tell you Nik Hagman
is a better player than Sean Avery. I realize 27 goals is more than Avery has ever dreamed of scoring, but find me anyone who thinks Hagman is a better all-around hockey player than Avery. Anyone who works in the sport, that is. I don’t believe you will.

Then, as far as fans and players embracing him, in July it is easy to take bold stands. But, the first time he shows that he would skate through a wall for his team, and has the Ducks or Sharks freaking out because they are mad at him, I figure he will be one of the family.

A bold move, but one that I like.

Andrew’s Take

So what to make of the Sean Avery signing. Let me start with Avery the player. I like him. I don't judge him by what I see on some highlight show or on YouTube. That's a small piece of the overall puzzle. I judge him by what I've seen the past year-and-a-half or so when I've watched him play with the Rangers. Each and every time I have watched him play I have always been impressed with the way he plays the game. He's all over the place. He's got skill. He's responsible in his own end.

The antics? It depends on whom the Rangers are playing. Avery is one of those guys you hate when he is on the other team, but love when he is on your team. It's like Steve Ott. Stars' fans love Ott, but fans on the other side aren't so enamored. That's life in sports fandom. Rangers' fans loved Avery. I think Stars fans will come around to him to as well, especially if he helps this team win. And I think he will do that. He's a hard-working guy who can play.

The money - an average of $3.875 million - seems to be a lot for a 15-20 goal scorer, but there's more to all this than just scoring goals. The numbers he can produce in that department ain't bad. But he does a lot more. He can play center or wing. He can play power play and penalty kill. He can go up against top players and shut them down. He can play with your top players and fit right in. You see him with Jaromir Jagr and he looks like he belongs.

Chemistry issues? I doubt it. Players may not like him when he's on the other side, but once he's on your side things change. That's just life. Matthew Barnaby talked about that when he joined the Stars. He used to point out that they guys you used to drive nuts the most were the ones that were the most welcoming. If anyone has an issue with Avery, he'll get over it.

The Hockey News take

The Sean Avery show is hitting the road once again and this time the No. 1 agitator in the league is heading to Dallas.

At four years and $15.5 million, this signing is downright reasonable, especially considering the insanity of the opening day.

Reputation aside, Avery provides speed and grit, something the Stars just lost yesterday when Niklas Hagman took off for Toronto. He also provides a nice offensive option for likely center Brad Richards on the second line.

It was largely assumed the fashion-conscious Avery would have preferred to stay near New York City for next season, but Dallas may be as beneficial to the notorious forward as he will be to the Stars.

In co-GM Brett Hull, Dallas has a sort of mentor for Avery, though Hull’s outspokenness as an NHL personality has never come close to the acidity with which Avery frequently spews. Nevertheless, perhaps the highly coveted chatterbox will learn to further harness his powers under one of the game’s best-ever scorers and media quotes.

On top of that, Avery joins a squad laden with veterans, from Mike Modano and Brenden Morrow to Philippe Boucher and Marty Turco. In a similar situation with the Rangers the past two seasons, Avery thrived, even though injuries felled him at some rather cruel junctures (such as this year’s playoffs, when a ruptured spleen took him out of the Pittsburgh series).

No one else in the league is going to like this signing – and perhaps a few Stars fans won’t either until they seem him play – but a lot of that will be envy, not to mention the fact Avery and new teammate Steve Ott will probably have a running contest to see who can provoke the most maniacal reactions from opponents next season.

Scott Burnside’s take

Stars sign forward Sean Avery to four-year, $15.5 million deal

Not sure exactly what New York Rangers GM Glen Sather was thinking. He made little effort to keep Sean Avery in the fold as the forward waltzed off Broadway and into Dallas. Now, the Stars have another talented, gritty forward to help take some of the pressure off captain Brenden Morrow.

"I just thought it was a no-brainer to have him in our lineup," Avery's former teammate in Detroit and current Stars assistant GM Brett Hull said Wednesday after the deal was done. "He goes against the stream, which I kind of like. Kind of reminds me of me."

There are always two trains of thought when it comes to Avery. There's Avery the player, who can antagonize with the best of them, but also knows how to play the game. The Rangers were a much different team -- read better -- with Avery in the lineup than without him. Then, there's Avery the diva, whose penchant for the dramatic has been off-putting to both teammates and opponents in the past.

The Stars believe Avery the player is the most important part of this equation.
Dallas upset the defending Cup champs from Anaheim in the first round of the playoffs and then preseason Cup favorite San Jose before dropping a six-game series to the Red Wings in the West finals. Does Avery make the Stars better than Detroit? No. Not with the Wings adding Hossa. But Avery ensures the Stars will have more grit and no complacency in the dressing room after a season of unexpected playoff success.

Free-agency grade: B+

See Avery’s workout here

Avery vs. Tucker


Later that night….

In other news, so much for the sweep in Yankee Stadium, as the bullpen ran out of energy. and Benoit still sucks ...

With a chance to sweep New York in their final regular-season series at Yankee Stadium, the Rangers found themselves constantly trying to patch holes Wednesday.

And, no, we're not talking about doing a little emergency carpentry on the 85-year-old stadium.

On the way to an 18-7 loss – a game the Rangers led heading to the bottom of the seventh inning – they found out that maybe their roster is just a bit short of being a full-fledged contender at the time.

The Rangers entered the game with a short-handed bullpen made even shorter by a constant workload in winning the previous three games. They simply didn't have enough arms to keep fixing leaks that sprung up.

It meant, first and foremost, that the club needed innings from rookie starter Luis Mendoza. He gave them only 4 2/3 innings.

The Rangers scrambled the rest of the night. Though they rallied to take a 7-6 lead, the scrambling eventually caught up with them.

They ended up having rookie Warner Madrigal make his major league debut with a one-run lead in the seventh inning and the middle of New York's order coming up.

"We were strapped right there," manager Ron Washington said. "We hoped he could get us one inning right there. If we could get through the seventh, I felt pretty good about the eighth and ninth. But we just didn't get there."

They couldn't go to their regular seventh-inning guy, Frank Francisco, because he'd thrown 30 pitches over the previous two nights. They couldn't go to middle reliever Josh Rupe because he threw 33 on Tuesday. They couldn't go to lefty Eddie Guardado because the club was trying to give him one more day to rest a sore shoulder.

They couldn't even go to struggling Joaquin Benoit. He'd walked in a run in relief of Mendoza in the fifth, but escaped the sixth. And they were trying to hold Jamey Wright for the eighth and C.J. Wilson for the ninth.

"If I had gone to Madrigal in the fifth and it gets out of hand, then I have nobody to go to," Washington said. "I figured I'd bring in Benoit [in the fifth] and see if he could hold them there."

A Rod and Mrs A Rod compete for rock stars

He's out at home!

Yankee superstar Alex Rodriguez's marriage is kaput, sources told The Post.
A-Rod's wife, Cynthia, has been shacked up with rocker Lenny Kravitz in Paris.
The couple's two daughters - 3-year-old Natasha and 2-month-old Ella - remained in Miami, sources said.

The stunning news emerged a day after revelations that Alex Rodriguez has been paying late-night visits to Madonna's Upper West Side apartment.

The game of musical celebrity beds has effectively ended the randy Rodriguez's already-shaky marriage, even though divorce papers have not been filed, sources said.

Cynthia Rodriguez, 34, has been in Paris for at least the past four days visiting Grammy-winner Kravitz.

C-Rod was seen outside the 44-year-old Kravitz's pad in the romantic City of Light as recently as Tuesday night.

Kravitz today denied the affair, telling US Weekly, "There is absolutely no affair between Cynthia Rodriguez and myself. This is unequivocally 100% not true.
"Cynthia is a friend and is here with the godfather of her baby, who is also Alex's trainer, his wife and their baby girl," he adds.

"She came here to escape from everything happening in New York City. I opened my home to her as a friend and I find it extremely hurtful that I am now being referred to as an adulterer."

Meanwhile, A-Rod has been in New York with the Bronx Bombers, reading headlines about his numerous visits to Madonna's Upper West Side apartment, which were first reported by Us Weekly on Tuesday.

The magazine also reported that A-Rod may have gone to Madonna's New York pad as early as one night after leaving his wife's side in Miami following the April 21 birth of their daughter Ella.

Madonna's publicist, Liz Rosenberg, denied that the nearly-50-year-old singer was
having an affair with the much-younger Yankee third baseman.

But sources told The Post the married Material Mom and Rodriguez are likely more than just "friends."

The sources also said Cynthia Rodriguez has taken "Are You Gonna Go My Way" singer Kravitz as a lover.

Madonna's marriage to British movie director Guy Ritchie has reportedly been on the rocks for some time. Both of them consulted divorce lawyers recently in Britain.

The couple has two sons, Rocco, 7, and 2-year-old David Banda, a toddler whom they adopted in the African nation of Malawi.

Favre Story Fun …My Take? Whatever.

With his family "tugging" on him to play, Brett Favre has an "itch" to come out of retirement and report to training camp with the Green Bay Packers later this month, according to sources close to the team and player.

Favre has communicated his potential desire to coach Mike McCarthy but talks have not advanced to a substantive stage, a Packers source said.

Favre was reached on Wednesday by Mississippi's Sun Herald newspaper and tried to calm the storm.

"It's all rumor," he said of reports that he wants to return.

As for the ensuing media storm surrounding the story, Favre said in a text message to the newspaper: "No reason for it."

However, Favre's brother, Scott, said Wednesday night that Brett has been working out and put a return by No. 4 at "50-50."

"There's no doubt he can play," Scott Favre told WTMJ-TV in Milwaukee. "He's in good shape, he's working out, we know he can still play, he's healthy, so, if he did, it wouldn't surprise me."

And at least one Packers player has said that Favre hasn't completely gotten the game out of his system.

On ESPN's NFL Live, Packers defensive back Al Harris said on Wednesday: "I've talked to Brett and I know he has the itch to come back and play. If he will or not, I don't know. But I know he's feeling he wants to play."

By the way, after a suggestion or two from a reader, we shall try moderated comments for a while, so one bad apple doesn't spoil it for all. Let's see how this works.


fickle said...

We got our voice back!!! HOORAY!!! Also, I recommended BilltheReasoner's blog to somebody yesterday. . . is my commission check in the mail.

Lance said...

Thanks for bringing the comments back Bob. Today is the 10th anniversary of one of the happiest sports days of my life.

On July 3, 1998 at about 8:00am, the news broke on the D&M Show that Brett Hull had agreed to sign as a free agent with the Dallas Stars. What a great day that was in Dallas sports history.

Little did we know then that 10 years later, he'd be signing his own free agents as the co-GM of the Stars.

BritneyB said...

I am so happy at the Star's signing of Avery. I think this will make him happy since his firing a few months ago. I also think it is very good for the league to have another brother in the league and should boost attendance in that culture. I just hope the little general doesn't puck the Stars up like he did the Mavs.

Flaco said...

Definitely taking a wait and see approach on Avery. My season tickets might have gotten more entertainment value, but in my opinion Detroit signing Hossa made next season an exercise in futility for the entire rest of the league.

Sully said...

Even if detroit didnt sign hossa i dont believe from a skill standpoint we are a better team but having a guy like avery will only help us have a team that can give detroit fits and not let them get comfortable. I can't wait to see him in action and who dave is going to line him up with