NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Many fans were quite pleased when the Rangers decided to let head coach John Tortorella go following the Rangers’ early postseason exit at the hands of the Bruins.
And a report came out on Thursday that Rangers players pushed for Tortorella’s dismissal. No current Rangers have come out and admitted that, but one former Blueshirt isn’t hiding his satisfaction.
“Oh, I had a huge smile on my face, no question about it,” ex-Ranger Sean Avery told the New York Post on Thursday. “It’s not that I’m happy for myself. I’m happy for the Rangers and Ranger fans.”
Avery played for New York from 2007-2009 and then returned to Manhattan for a second stint in 2009. The left winger played just 15 games for the Rangers in the 2011-2012 campaign and hasn’t played in the league since.
“When I was a Ranger, no one was happier to walk into the Garden every day than me,” the 33-year-old told the newspaper. “I loved the team. I still do. I want the atmosphere to be the best it can be for the players. I want everyone in New York to be proud of the team. That’s why I felt the way I did (on Wednesday), and that’s why I sent that tweet.”
Oh, what tweet does he speak of?
Minutes after New York fell to the Montreal Canadiens, 3-0, on March 30, Avery publicly called for Tortorella’s firing.
“I hadn’t said anything for a long time — since I stopped playing, actually,” Avery told the New York Post. “I hadn’t watched a full game all year. But I watched that game from start to finish. All my emotions as a Ranger came back. It was comforting to hear Joe Micheletti’s voice. And then to see what I saw … it wasn’t right. I had to say something.
“Then there was that statement from (captain Ryan Callahan) on behalf of the team saying I didn’t speak for them. Well, OK, whatever. But look what happened.”
Avery was placed on waivers by New York on December 30, 2011, but was never claimed. On March 13, 2012, he said that he was retiring, but his agent said that the 10-year player was just joking.
“There’s no bitterness, and I’ll tell you why,” Avery told the newspaper. “When John Tortorella forced me out of one career, that opened the door for me on a whole new career and life in New York that is perfect for me … I said the day I came back to the Rangers that Tortorella was going to be the best thing for me in my career. Well, he was the worst thing ever that could have happened to my hockey career but the best thing that ever happened to my life.
“And if I saw John Tortorella on the street, I would give him that sly Avery grin that so many people have been on the other end of, and that would be it.”
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