Sean Avery came and went. The Stars defeated the Rangers, 2-1, in an anticlimactic game that had some pregame chatter between Avery, Brandon Dubinsky, Stephen Valiquette and Henrik Lundqvist. Avery saved his best antics for the media, first getting into a heated altercation with the MSG Network's John Giannone in between the first and the second periods, and then blowing off writers to ham it up for the cameras.
Before Blue Lines closes the book on Avery for good, unless you, the readers can't get him out of your mind and wish to flood my inbox and the message boards on how much of a jerk he is, what happened Monday night is Sean Avery. If he's with you, you love him. If he's against you, he's No. 1 on your most-hated list. Time will tell if Avery made the right decision to leave New York, a city he loved, to accept $4 million more plus a no-trade clause to move to Dallas. But here and now, Avery is no longer a Ranger, so get over it and let's move on to pressing issues that have nothing to do with missing Sean Avery.
The Rangers are 1-2-1 since a 5-0 start. While that first loss, to be fair, came against a very good Sabres team, the effort level was inexcusable. Since then, you had a great 1-0 shootout win over Toronto that preceded a loss at Detroit in which they rallied, fought back from down 2-0, but lost in overtime thanks to defensive lapses, a tough-luck too many men penalty call late in the third, a game-tying goal that deflected off Wade Redden's skate onto Jiri Hudler blade and past Lundqvist and a sweet rush started by Pavel Datsyuk and finished by Marian Hossa in OT.
Monday, the Rangers scored 33 seconds into the game -- the struggling Markus Naslund netted his second goal -- but did nothing else against the disciplined Stars. Unlike the Sabres loss, I don't question the effort. The Rangers again just didn't play a complete 60-minute game and didn't do the little things required to steal a win. They missed 14 shots and had 16 blocked, and that irritated Tom Renney.
"We were stupid," Renney said. "When you've got a one-on-four, you chip pucks in behind and go hunt them down. It's not a case of one guy trying to beat four people.
"We're trying to pick corners and be precise. One of the best passes in hockey is when it comes off the goaltender's pads, and when you go hard to the net, it usually creates havoc, at the very least."
For some reason, Renney started Patrick Rissmiller at right wing alongside Naslund and Chris Drury. Sam Wineman writes this reinforces the thought that the Rangers have to do something about the glut of forwards, and quick.
UPDATE (3:45 p.m.): Rissmiller was waived this morning. And the Edmonton Journal is reporting Petr Prucha and Dan Fritsche might be expendable. Through all this, Brendan Shanahan remains at home.