NHL notes: Sean Avery happy to see Tortorella gone

Former Rangers forward Sean Avery thinks the team is better off without John Tortorella on the...

Former Rangers forward Sean Avery thinks the team is better off without John Tortorella on the bench. (Ray Stubblebine/Reuters/Files)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:05 PM ET

Nobody was happier to see John Tortorella get canned by the New York Rangers than Sean Avery.

The former NHL bad boy wasn’t a big fan of the hot-headed head coach during his tenure with the Rangers and thinks the team is better off without Tortorella.

“I had a huge smile on my face, no question about it,” Avery told the New York Post. “It’s not that I’m happy for myself. I’m happy for the Rangers and Ranger fans.

“When I was a Ranger, no one was happier to walk into the Garden every day than me. I loved the team. I still do. I want the atmosphere to be the best it can be for the players. I want everyone in New York to be proud of the team. That’s why I felt the way I did (after Tortorella was fired Wednesday) and that’s why I sent that tweet.”

The tweet Avery referred to is one he sent in March after the Rangers lost 3-0 to the Montreal Canadiens.

“Fire this clown (Tortorella), his players hate him and won’t play for his BS,” it said.

Minutes after Tortorella’s firing, he sent another: “Don’t ever doubt what I say.”

NEW YORK BOSS

Who’s going to be the next head coach of the New York Rangers?

Speculation about who will replace John Tortorella as the Rangers bench boss has ramped up.

Could it be a legend? Rangers alumni Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier are both interested in the position, according to Sportsnet.

Gretzky spent four years coaching the Phoenix Coyotes from 2005-09. Messier’s only coaching experience was with Team Canada at the Deutschland Cup and Spengler Cup in 2010.

The odds, however, appear to be in Lindy Ruff’s favour.

The former Buffalo Sabres coach is a 13/4 favourite to land the gig, according to online bookmaker Bovada.

Ruff has been out of a job since he was fired by the Sabres in February after 14-plus seasons with the team.

He’s followed by Alain Vigneault (7/2), Messier (7/2), Dave Tippett (11/2), Dallas Eakins (7/1), Mike Keenan (15/2), Paul Maurice (8/1), Marc Crawford (17/2) and Guy Boucher (15/1) on Bovada’s list.

HURTING RANGERS

We may know why former New York Rangers coach John Tortorella said Carl Hagelin “stinks” on the power play.

Hagelin, along with teammate Ryan Callahan, played with torn labrums in their left shoulders during the playoffs.

Both had surgery Friday.

Hagelin was third in points for the Rangers in the post-season with three goals and three assists in six games. Callahan had two goals and three assists and had the highest average ice time per game among forwards at 23 minutes 22 seconds.

Both players suffered shoulder injuries recently. Hagelin left his Swedish second division team Sodertalje SSK in November to deal with an ailment and Callahan missed three games in late January and early February.

FAITH IN MCLELLAN

Todd McLellan won’t have to worry about looking for a job this off-season.

The San Jose Sharks head coach and his assistants received a ringing endorsement Friday from general manager Doug Wilson.

“I think they’ve done an excellent job. All of the components of it,” Wilson told CSNBayArea.com. “(Associate coaches) Larry (Robinson) and Jimmy (Johnson) coming in, it makes us a complete staff that not only allows us to play the way we want to play today, it helps the younger players get ready to play. I think they did an excellent job. Very proud of the job they did.”

After an up-and-down season, the Sharks were able to secure the No. 6 seed in the Western Conference. They swept the Vancouver Canucks in the first round of the playoffs but fell to the Los Angeles Kings in the conference semifinal in seven games.

The Sharks have made the playoffs in each of McLellan’s five seasons with the team.


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