Sean Avery yapped from the bench, then picked himself up off the ice after being face-planted into the glass. All in a night’s work for hockey’s most-hated player.
Avery returned to the NHL after a three-month exile and started a second stint with the New York Rangers, who topped the New York Islanders 4-2 on Thursday night.
He had his first run-in during the first period after being hit by Blake Comeau in front of the benches, but didn’t push back in the skirmish.
He delivered hits to defensemen Bruno Gervais and Radek Martinek from behind and absorbed his biggest blow when Trent Hunter smashed him face-first into the glass by the penalty box.
Avery, playing in his first NHL game since Nov. 30, was slow getting to his feet and skated slowly to the scrum in the Rangers zone, but didn’t get involved. Hunter was called for boarding and Avery kept his cool, in what is likely his last chance to prove he can behave.
-- The Associated Press