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(UPDATE) Confirmed: Sean Avery waived

Sean Avery of the New York Rangers at

Sean Avery of the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden in Manhattan. (April 17, 2011) Photo Credit: Getty Images

The feisty and controversial left winger was released at noon, according to the list released by the NHL. The Post first tweeted the news earlier this morning, and his representatives later confirmed.

It’s doubtful Avery will be claimed at a $1.93 million cap hit, but Erik Christensen, whom John Tortorella said was in a battle with Avery for the spare forward spot, could have been.

If Avery isn't claimed by noon tomorrow, he could report to Hartford or try to land a role with a European team.

Avery played eight games in Hartford after being acquired from the Stars in 2008-09. It's no secret that Avery and coach John Tortorella don't see eye to eye, and didn' t through last season. 

The Rangers also might need the extra cap space to sign a defenseman if Marc Staal (concussion-related headaches) is sidelined for awhile. He has already been ruled out for the first two regualr season games this weekend in Stockholm.

UPDATE The waiver wire also contains the names of Rangers defensemen Stu Bickel and Brendan Bell. That probably means that Mike Sauer (shoulder) is ready to play. If they both are claimed (not very probable), the Rangers would need to claim, sign someone or recall someone to have six D for the opener on Friday. Right now, they have five:  Dan Girardi, Ryan McDonagh, Sauer, Michael Del Zotto and Steve Eminger.

Christensen, 27, with a cap hit of $925,000 was 11-16-27 in 63 games.

Avery, 31, was 3-21-24 in 76 games. He was better in his first stint with the Rangers (23-40-63 over two seasons 2006-7 and 2007-8.)

Avery, who has a storied reputation as an irritant, was a healthy scratch for the final two preseason games. Last Monday, he said Wayne Simmonds used a homophobic slur during a scrum in a preseason game in Philadelphia. A video seemed to support Avery, but Simmonds denied it, and the league, with no audio evidence, did not discipline the Flyers forward.

Was the writing on the wall? Perhaps, although I thought Avery had a chance. Tortorella has said he wanted the Rangers to be younger, and have some grit in Brandon Prust, and new addition Mike Rupp.

 

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