Not surprisingly, Avery's new home was a big topic of conversation when the Rangers came off the ice. Speculation is that Avery will join the Rangers -- either on re-entry waivers or through a trade -- before the March 4 trade deadline.
Neither Brandon Dubinsky nor Chris Drury was opposed to that idea when it was suggested. Both players, however, stressed that nothing was a done deal yet.
"Hockey-wise we can't comment on him, he's still Dallas' NHL property," Drury said.
Although he is now with Hartford, Avery remains property of the Dallas Stars until he is traded, lost to a re-entry waiver claim or bought out by Dallas at the end of the season.
"When he was here he was a good player for us," Dubinsky said. "Nothing is set. We're focused on the group we have in here and getting the job done. Let the management take care of the personnel decisions, and take it from there.
"I don't think anyone is pig-headed enough or stupid enough not to take someone back, to forgive and move on. We've all made mistakes. There's not one person in this room who hasn't made a mistake." -- Chris Drury"He was a great player for us when he was here, but he's not on our team right now. We have to work with who we have and find a way to win with or without him or with or without anyone else. We have to make sure we take it upon our shoulders to get back to work and get the job done and put some wins together."
New York is 0-4-1 in its last five games, including a 10-2 loss to the Stars this past weekend and a 3-0 loss Monday to rival New Jersey.
As Dubinsky said, pulling out of the current tailspin is top priority, but there is no escaping the specter of Avery, who was often larger than life in his one-plus season with the Rangers.
Drury, the captain, knows the Rangers will welcome Avery back if they believe the forward can help them salvage what was once a very promising season.
"I don't think anyone is pig-headed enough or stupid enough not to take someone back, to forgive and move on," Drury said. "We've all made mistakes. There's not one person in this room who hasn't made a mistake."
Regardless of what happens, Drury is happy to see that a former teammate is putting the pieces of his hockey live back together.
"(I) just think as far as his rehab and everything he's gone through, apparently he's done well at it, things are going good, and everyone is happy for him in that regard," Drury said. "From what you hear and what you read, and what you guys say, everything has gone well. I have no reason to think differently. Now that he's back on the ice, we'll find out for sure."