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Counterpoint: Why the Rangers will make the playoffs

Image (1) Avery3-thumb-250x166-7535.jpg for post 407

Boston Bruins vs. New York Rangers

12:30 p.m. EST - Sunday, March 21, 2010 Live on NBC

I can sum up why the New York Rangers will pass the Boston Bruins for 8th in the East and grab a playoff spot in two words:

Sean. Avery.

No other player in the NHL has the ability to lead an emotionally fueled charge in the playoffs like Avery does, and it appears that coach John Tortorella knows exactly how to motivate his controversial players. Why else would he scratch Avery in the midst of a push for a playoff spot, when Avery seems to be the only player on the team capable of showing any emotion whatsoever?

The Rangers were able to win the game without Avery -- which was a bit surprising -- but then Avery returned to the ice the next game and led his team with two goals in a crucial win over the Flyers.

Of course, the Rangers have lost two in a row, so I guess it’s tough to maintain that level of emotion from game to game for Avery. So here is what I propose: tick him off with limited ice time and perhaps scratch him once every three games. It’s obvious that Avery is the only player on the Rangers that actually rises to the occasion and plays hard after being benched, but that only lasts so long. If the Rangers can win at least two of three or even three of four down the stretch, with Avery being systematically angered down stretch, then it’s the perfect combination for the Rangers to pas the Bruins in the standings.

That would never happen, of course. But for the Rangers to even think they have a chance of making the playoffs, Sean Avery is going to have to be at his all-time most annoying for opposing teams. I’m not talking about him just angering Marty Brodeur or starting some brawls every now and then; he needs to score goals

Let’s be realistc for a second, though. The Rangers need Avery to be in top form, but there’s no way they’ll even sniff the playoffs unless they start to get some leadership from the players expected to actually be leaders on the team. Sean-freaking-Avery is not supposed to be the best leader on a team; if that’s the case then I feel for the state of that locker room.