The center of media attention today after the workout here at the MSG Training Center was none other than The Grate One, who answered queries at his locker with some humor and mystery, preferring not to get into many details.
Avery, who has two seasons remaining on his contract, of which the Rangers pay $1.9 million per, and whose last season ended with a knee injury, said he “certainly has a different mentality going into camp this year than last year. It was a disappointing season for the team and from a personal standpoint. It was not a good year. It’s just focus in a different way, just definitely a different mentality as far as a personal standpoint.”
Specifically, Avery---who had worked out often here this summer and looked fast on the ice---said he was disappointed by his performance (11-20-31 in 69 games) in a season bookended by injuries and some tension between he and coach John Tortorella.
When I asked No. 16 generally about the new faces coming aboard (Todd White, Alex Frolov, Derek Boogaard, Tim Kennedy, Steve Eminger), Avery answered:
“All that stuff is great as long as it works. We certainly started playing together (as a team) at the end but I haven’t really thought much about the stuff that did happen. I’m thinking about what I would like to see happen. I would like to see us gain our identity back, the team we used to be. A team that outworked the other team, that wasn’t intimidated by the other team and won games.”
When I asked if those words could be displayed at his bar Warren 77, he chuckled and said, "Maybe a motto for the staff...." Then he asked Henrik Lundqvist for a lifrt home after a workout in the gym....
We'll be back in Greenburgh for more tomorrow, including a LIVE CHAT at 1 pm boys and girls, and don't forget to follow me at twitter.com/stevezipay. Season's approaching in the distance like a train down the tracks...
What's that Steve Goodman lyric about the "disappearing railroad blues? City of New Orleans?