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Avery putting disappointing season behind him

Thursday, 09.02.2010 / 1:27 PM / 2010 Offseason News

By Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

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Avery putting disappointing season behind him
The 2009-10 season wasn't one to remember for the Rangers or Sean Avery, but the antagonizing forward is already hard at work and eager to start fresh.
GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Sean Avery remains disappointed with how his 2009-10 season unfolded, but the budding entrepreneur, who owns his own restaurant in Manhattan, hasn't spent the summer contemplating why or how things went south for him and the Rangers.

"I let it go," Avery told NHL.com Thursday after a 75-minute informal skate with nine other teammates at the Madison Square Garden Training Center. "It's easy to do when you're excited about getting back to work."

Avery finished last season with 31 points in 69 games. He started on the shelf with a knee injury and ended the season seven games prematurely, again with a knee injury. He had to watch the Rangers lose out on the playoffs from the press box in Philadelphia.

In between, however, Avery never found himself in a groove or confidently playing his own antagonizing brand of hockey.

"I think everyone knows what my game entails," Avery said. "I'm just excited to get back to the way that I know how to play and enjoy playing that way."

Sticking with his philosophy of letting last season go, Avery wasn't in the mood Thursday to talk about what was missing from his game last season.

"Lots," is all he would say.

Was it a matter of consistency?

"That's your job as a pro to find that consistent level on an individual basis," Avery said.

Avery went through several long stretches last season without registering a point, but he doesn't care too much about that, or the fact that he finished with only 31 points, because he is not a self-proclaimed stat man. Those 31 points fell only eight shy of his career high.

Avery instead said he's happy with himself when he knows he's playing on the edge, toeing the line, frustrating the opponent without hurting his own team. When he's like that, the Rangers are usually at their best, too.

When asked if that's what coach John Tortorella talks to him about when they meet and discuss his game, Avery's response was terse.

"You can ask him that," he said.

The relationship between Avery and Tortorella appeared to turn dicey last season because the player couldn't find a comfort zone playing the way the coach wanted him to. But since Avery seems ready to turn the page on last season, it's not off base to think he's hoping for a fresh start with Tortorella, too.

Whether that's why he's already working out at the Rangers' suburban practice facility is not known, but the elongated summer has served as motivation for Avery not only to be in shape for training camp but ready to have a big season.

"I think it's definitely easier (to get ready for the season)," Avery said. "Just the longer the time off the more you start champing at the bit. I want to be ready when we start."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl


Quote of the Day

The groove of being behind a bench is going to be interesting at first, but thank God we have a few exhibition games to get rid of those cobwebs. Overall the excitement of it all and the freshness and coming back refreshed, all those things are going to be assets. If [the players] come ready to give their best effort in practice and games, good things are going to happen. I'm always looking for results. It's not always on the scoreboard. It's winning and building something.

— Bryan Trottier on making his return to coaching as an assistant with the Sabres