Bad Boy Punished
Well, it was a surprise, but then again, it wasn't a surprise.
Perennial NHL troublemaker Sean Avery has been scratched from the New York Rangers lineup for tonight's Game 5 contest in Washington against the Capitals after a series of indiscretions in the past two games.
In particular, Rangers head coach John Tortorella was incensed after a New York win in Game 4 that put the Blueshirts ahead three games to one was jeopardized by two pointless Avery penalties in the final period.
Luckily for Avery, the Caps weren't able to capitalize by putting any pucks past Henrik (The King) Lundqvist in the New York net, but he wasn't so lucky for Game 5 as Tortorella clearly decided his team had a better chance of winning without the infamous bad boy.
The Rangers had been the one team willing to give Avery another chance after he was suspended last fall by the NHL while playing for Dallas for some intemperate public remarks aimed at a former girlfriend and her boyfriend, Calgary defenceman Dion Phaneuf.
Avery underwent anger management therapy while on leave from the NHL. When he returned, the Stars waived him and the Rangers picked him up. For the most part, he had been a good citizen, aside from a silly incident involving Boston goalie Tim Thomas in the final days of the regular season.
Against the Caps, however, Avery has become increasingly unpredictable, almost as if he was daring either the referees to call penalties or Tortorella to take some action against him.
Well, Tortorella did tonight, replacing Avery - pointless with 24 penalty minutes in the series - with grinding winger Aaron Voros.
And here’s a couple of extra playoff mail bag questions:
Q: With the London Knights now eliminated from the playoffs, would John Tavares be eligible to play in the upcoming world championships? I don't know whether or not it would be worthwhile to do so, but I am just curious.
Daniel Gray, London, Ont.
A: Yes, Tavares is eligible. In fact, you might remember that Jonathan Toews played for Team Canada at the 2007 world championships after his college season ended. It’s all about nationality, and, of course, availability. But you don’t have to be an NHLer to play in the worlds.
Q: Hi Damien,
Now that the Habs are out of the playoffs, I suspect there will be big changes with the roster during the off-season. I think the days of Koivu and Kovalev are over. I also think that the Habs will make a serious push for Lecavalier.
In a deal with Tampa do you think the Habs will have the upper hand since Tampa is bleeding money? Or will the Habs have to trade half of their roster for Vincent? What would Tampa be looking for? Are there any other teams that would be in the running for Vincent?
Sanjay Bali, Scarborough
A: Well, based on Bob Gainey’s outburst at Tampa GM Brian Lawton yesterday, the atmosphere may be permanently poisoned between the two clubs. Gainey insists Tampa was talking about trading Lecavalier and they discussed players, while Lawton seems to deny any and all of that. The Lecavalier contract is really nasty, particularly in an industry where the salary cap may fall. To me, it’s the Canadiens that would be more desperate to make this move now. The Bolts have serious money problems, but they have other options, like moving a player like Ryan Malone. I seriously doubt that if Lecavalier were to go to Montreal, the gains in terms of players and futures for the Lightning might not be as great as you might think. The biggest gain for Tampa in that kind of deal is deleting Lecavalier’s contract.
I just can't seem to find an answer to this question. When Antropov was dealt to the Rangers the Leafs recieved a 2nd round draft pick and a conditional draft pick. What are the conditions on this pick?
Steve Lipskie, Guelph, Ont.
A: If Rangers win two rounds this spring, the Leafs get their fourth rounder in 2010. It’s not a biggee, but if you’re a Leaf fan, I guess you cheer for the Rangers this spring.
During the playoffs, Damien Cox is answering your questions daily. Click here to submit a question.
**Note: please follow the link above to send a question to Damien. Questions posted in the comments section may not make it to the mailbag. Thanks.**