Mr. Smith's Neighborhood

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The New York Rangers Are Ready! August 5, 2007

Rangers Sign Avery and Hossa … Time to Rock and Roll!

While I was vacationing in Northern Ontario, Glen Sather, President of the New York Rangers, signed restricted free agents Sean Avery and Marcel Hossa for 2007-2008 following arbitration hearings. The Rangers roster is essentially complete for the upcoming season and represents a substantial improvement over the 2006-2007 team.

There seems to have been some media hype about the rigors of the arbitration process for Avery. The Rangers offered $1.3 million and Avery asked for $2.6 million. The arbiter essentially split the difference and awarded Avery $1.9 million, an $800,000 raise from the previous season. Apparently, it seems that some shrines of sports journalism integrity like The New York Post have tried to stir the pot and present Avery as angry and dismayed at comments made by Rangers management.

Let’s set the record straight for Avery, the fans and the mediocre hockey writers.

First of all, Avery received a 73% raise over his previous contract; he was seeking a 136% raise which was likely an exaggerated request to force arbitration. Sean and his agent are big boys and know how to play the negotiating game. Many hockey writers need to create controversy through exaggeration and contextual ambiguity, and go to any length to get headlines during the summer doldrums. Let’s take the positive road and move on.

Although I’m not a fan of WFAN’s Mike Francesa, he made an extremely intelligent assessment of the salary negotiating process when discussing his own contract issues. It is management’s job to go in and win their case. A good organization pays a fair amount, but tries to pay the “right” amount. To win their case, they have to put a few dents in the other side’s armor. But, as a professional, you have to forget the process, take what you’ve won and get back to the business at hand: WINNING.

What Avery needs to understand is that he has an opportunity to perform a major role on a Stanley Cup contender. He will perform on the biggest stage in the NHL … New York City. The fans love him and his team respects him. He can dramatically improve his market value for next season with exceptional effort, and his performance could lead to a long-term Ranger contract after January 1.

Avery also needs to remember that most of the comments made by the Rangers were common criticisms of his history in the NHL. Avery is a young 27 and he could use a bit more maturity. Stay tough, play determined, but don’t put your teammates or yourself behind the eight ball. Be a team player on the ice … but be smart about it. And watch the comments to opponents, refs and, most importantly, the sports writers who are dying to put your quotes in print.

Avery needs to stick close to Brendan Shanahan … he can learn a lot from Shanny. Ranger fans should not worry … Avery will have the season of his life. Most of all, Rangers fans will have a chance to watch the best season since the 1993-1994 Stanley Cup campaign.


2 Responses to “The New York Rangers Are Ready!”

  1. jkguy16 Says:

    I completely agree with you about Sean Avery. As a longtime Rangers and Red Wings fan, I’ve seen play on both teams. In the past, he was nothing more than a goon. As he evolved his game in Los Angeles, he seemed to play a lot smarter. I was extremely impress and pleased with his play with NYR last season.

    I’m so happy that he is back with the Blueshirts for the 07-08 season and believe he will play a big if not vital role in the run for the cup. His ability to get under the other team’s skin and then draw penalties because of it is masterful. If he can get the Rangers key powerplays this year, especially with the improved names on the team, the Rangers can go deep into the playoffs.

    It won’t be 1994 all over again, that will never be duplicated, but it will be another great year for the NYR.

  2. bluboo Says:

    Nice observations, JK!

    Avery has not made many friends in the NHL but he has found someplace that he can call home. He has earned this great opportunity and we can be pretty confident that he will give it everything he has.

    He must also be prepared for other teams that will actively try to take him out of his game. This is where mental maturity and smart play become important. This year will be a real test for Sean, but he will have solid coaching and a great team at his side.

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