Head coach John Tortorella just met up with the media to talk about the recent waiving of forward Sean Avery, the state of the defense and to give updates on the club's injured players. As expected, he had some controversial and thought-provoking statements to make, so let's get to it.
On Sean Avery: "I don’t want to jam up Sean here - I think we have better players than Sean Avery, plain and simple," Tortorella said. "I can dodge it ten different ways, without trying to run Sean over. I thought he had a good camp. But I think with the makeup of our team, and some of the people we’ve added, and some of the youth we’ve added as far as depth put Sean in this spot.
"The players that are here are better than Sean Avery,” Tortorella reiterated. “ Maybe not in the role or a couple instances Sean could help us in, but they’re more versatile in a lot of different areas."
That's about all I needed to hear. Tortorella saying "we have better players than Sean Avery" validates that his personal opinion factored into this decision more than anything. At least that's the way I see it and I know my philosophy will be torn apart by most of you but I'm not budging on how I see this.
Tortorella finally had a legitimate opportunity to rid himself of a player he's wanted no part of for a while now and he jumped all over it. For more on Sean, be sure to give my article from earlier this afternoon a look.
On Erik Christensen: "Erik is a guy who can play PP, help on shootouts...maybe bump him up into top six forward if he can be consistent."
Scary, I know. And how is he expected to be consistent as a 13th forward who will not even be in the lineup?
I think my tweet about this quote better explains my feelings.
On the Defense: "We have had conversations today...we are trying to upgrade our D...with the uncertainty of Marc (Staal)."
So the Rangers are clearly still on the lookout for a veteran defenseman to provide some stability while Marc Staal is out of the lineup. The defense is something I addressed this morning on the blog, and I think I made my point pretty strong in saying there needs to be some concern as we enter the season here. If they were struggling against European teams, there are going to be serious problems against fellow NHL squads if their act is not cleaned up or their personnel is not upgraded.
Tortorella also said that defenseman Mike Sauer and forward Wojtek Wolski are "okay", so I would expect them to be in the lineup for Friday's opener. Meanwhile, Stu Bickel and Brendan Bell has both been placed on waivers. The Rangers only have five d-men on the roster at the moment.