Originally written on The Rangers Tribune  |  Last updated 11/14/11

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

Eagles insider: Tebow 'has a ways to go' after Tuesday OTA

Cromartie: Richard Sherman is a product of Seahawks system

Prince Shembo’s girlfriend says he was jealous of dog

Bruce Arians: Talk of Daryl Washington a 'waste of breath'

Gerald McCoy keeps the Jameis Winston hype in check

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Gronkowski family to appear on 'Family Feud'

WATCH: Lloyd McClendon has all-time meltdown

Drew Bledsoe defends Tom Brady over Deflategate

Did Heat offer Dwyane Wade less than $10 million per season?

David Ortiz brushes aside talk of being 'washed up'

USA Women’s World Cup roster verdict: No excuse not to win

Bryce Harper takes on-field selfie with fan’s phone

Yahoo to openly, freely stream NFL game from London

Mariota tops Jameis Winston, Tom Brady in jersey sales

Adrian Peterson's return puts jolt into Vikings for 2015

Russell Wilson on future with Seahawks: 'We'll see what happens'

QB Blake Sims misses playing for Alabama

WATCH: Joc Pederson hits longest home run of the season

WATCH: Joey Gallo homers in first career game

Former Mississippi State cheerleader suing ESPN after hit by golf cart

Jackson says Bills plan to give McCoy 300-plus carries

McCoy not happy Perryman played dodgeball while injured

College football playoff schedule for 2015: New Year's Eve?

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

USA Women’s World Cup: No excuse not to win

Projecting rosters for the 2015 MLB All-Star Game

What Peterson's return means

The Bulls and the culture of fitting in

X-factors for Cavs and Warriors

Pujols: Angels not 'Mike Trout show'

Adrian Peterson returns to Vikings

Chicago Bulls agree to deal with Fred Hoiberg

NBA should have 'legacy contracts' for long-time players

Atlanta Hawks unveil new logo

UAB fans celebrate football reinstatement

Sanchez backs off dismissal of Tebow

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.