Originally written on The Rangers Tribune  |  Last updated 10/31/14

NEW YORK - JANUARY 25: Sean Avery #16 of the New York Rangers skates against the Pittsburgh Penguins skates against on January 25, 2010 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Penguins defeated the Rangers 4-2. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Last week, when forward Sean Avery had just been recalled from the Connecticut Whale of the AHL, I stressed that it would be crucial for Sean to take it easy and do the simple things out on the ice in his first few games in the NHL this season. After all, head coach John Tortorella did say there were better players on this team than Avery last month, so he couldn't afford to make any costly mistakes out there and prove Torts' theory to be correct right away. 

In games one through three for Sean this season, he did exactly what I said he should. He made the most of his ice time, which wasn't very much at all, and played a hard-nosed game, leaving everything on the ice on every shift. He got pucks to the net, he forechecked, he defended and he played physical. Really, Tortorella couldn't have asked anything more of the widely known pest. 

Quite honestly, I think his smartest move to that point was when he challenged Zenon Konopka to a fight after Konopka had made some comments about Avery's teammates prior to their match in Ottawa last week. I didn't have much of a problem with what Konopka said, because he was right, but the Rangers coaching staff did, as did the players. Avery then took it upon himself to defend the team and fight Konopka, and I think that right there was when he proved to everyone that he is here for the Rangers, not himself. 

It was in game four, however, which took place this past Friday against the Carolina Hurricanes, that we saw Sean Avery do a little more than in his first three games. Right off the bat he scored a very pretty goal to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead, and from there he played a solid game all around. Afterwards he said that what he did on that night was exactly how he needs to play on a game-to-game basis, and he is absolutely right. 

Tortorella, shockingly, even acknowledged Avery's efforts after the game...

"Sean played better. You could see right away his legs were going. He was pressuring the puck." - Torts to Andrew Gross

With that, Sean Avery is now ready to take the next step in the slow but sure process of re-securing a spot in the lineup here in New York. Last week, between the fight and the goal, Sean proved that he has a role on this team that no else could fill. What do I mean by that? Well, just look at his competition. Erik Christensen can score a pretty goal here and there, but he could and would never stick up for a teammate. Meanwhile, Mike Rupp will drop the mitts, but you won't see him roofing shots on breakaways anytime soon. 

It is my belief that the spot is there for Avery's taking right now, because the coach is admittingly liking what he's seen from Sean, and that's evident just by the fact that he gave him over ten minutes of ice time last game, as opposed to the five or four he saw in the previous three. Avery is ready to take that next step and be the impact player he once was - he just has to do it consistently. 

  

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Peterson releases statement, no mention of the Vikings

Bulls general manager expects Derrick Rose back in 4-6 weeks

Ray Allen reportedly will not sign with Cavaliers if he returns

Shane Vereen squashes rumor he wants $5 million per season

Jon Gruden on Meyer: 'Greatest coaching job of all time'

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Vince Young to work out at NFL Veteran Combine

Report: Mike Wallace unwilling to restructure contract

Report: Colts targeting Brandon Marshall

Rakeem Christmas leads Syracuse in exercise of futility

Report: Phil Jackson to be fined for comments on college player

Rondo 'extremely unlikely' to re-sign with Mavericks

WATCH: Dress debate threatens to derail Brooklyn Nets’ season

FIFA gave Fox the 2026 World Cup to avoid a lawsuit

WATCH: Charles Barkley rips analytics again

Dark horse World Series contenders in 2015

The Jacksonville Jaguars need to step up

Jon Stewart and Seth Rollins feud comes to a head(lock)

MLS must get labor deal done before embarking on new TV era

NASCAR driver's car stolen from hotel parking lot

WATCH: Herm Edwards breaks down infamous llama video

Rex Ryan has truck with Buffalo Bills paint scheme

WATCH: Sidney Crosby catches teammate's stick in mid-air

WATCH: Vanderbilt coach tells own player 'I'll f-ing kill you'

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

WATCH: Barkley rips analytics again

A-Rod: A con man returns to baseball

Bostick death threats show why some fans take sports too seriously

Russell Westbrook is surging into the MVP conversation

Five-round NFL Mock Draft

Key offseason moves for every MLB team

Rousey, Arianny Celeste get into it

Dallas sportscaster back with another powerful essay

The parallels of Rose and Hardaway

Offseason breakdown for all 32 NFL teams

On Josh Hamilton's addiction and feeling alone

Judge rules against AP's suspension

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.