Will The New York Rangers Bench Sean Avery?

Martin AverySenior Writer IApril 24, 2009

NEW YORK - APRIL 22:  Milan Jurcina #23 of the Washington Capitals defends against Sean Avery #16 of the New York Rangers during Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal Round of the 2009 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs on April 22, 2008 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

After he took a couple of penalties at the end of Game 4 with the Washington Capitals, with the New York Rangers leading the Caps 2-1, some hockey fans who love to hate Sean Avery sent coach John Tortorella this message: "Bench him!"

Avery fans argue he was sending a message to the Caps from the Rangers, taking that last so-called 'stupid' penalty. The message was, "Keep your head up!" and "See you in Washington!"

Maybe it was a message to Alex Ovechkin saying, "I'm still alive!" in response to Ovechkin's pre-game comment about killing him.

Of course, the Rangers penalty-killing unit handled the Caps power play, again, and New York won the game. Even so, some people urged Tortorella to "Bench Avery".

That sentiment brings several questions to mind.

1. Is this the end of the "bromance" between Avery and Tortorella? He did not look happy with that last penalty at the end of the game.

2. Is this the end of Averella, the two-headed, fire-breathing, monster made of Avery plus Tortorella that re-energized the Rangers at the NHL Trade Deadline?

Say it ain't so, Joe! Let's recall how the Rangers got into these playoffs.

Remember the vanilla Rangers, that long mid-season slump, when New York went from first to worst of the teams heading for the playoffs?

Remember the underachieving Rangers, earlier this year? Even captain Chris Drury was criticized.

3. What was it that turned this team around? Was it the addition of Nik Antropov and Derek Morris at the trade deadline? Well, that was part of the story.

4. Who was the star of the stretch run, especially the last two games against the Philadelphia Flyers, that clinched a playoff spot and gave the Rangers a lot of confidence for this series against the Capitals? How well would the Rangers have done if he had been benched for a game against the Flyers?

5. Who set up that big goal in Game 1 of the playoff series between the Rangers and Caps, that led to the first upset of the Capitals, which led to a sweep in their arena, wiping out their home ice advantage?

6. Who is the fan favourite in Madison Square Garden and New York City? Have you heard those twenty thousand people in MSG chanting his name?

7. If you had the NHL's No. 1 agitator in your lineup, would you want him sitting on your bench, or starting the game with your top line?