Former NHL player Sean Avery dropped by CBS Sports Radio on Thursday to discuss his new book, Ice Capades: A Memoir of Fast Living and Tough Hockey, and share his candid thoughts on John Tortorella, Mike Modano, and Gary Bettman, among others.
Avery, who played for Tortorella with the Rangers from 2008-12, did not see eye-to-eye with his former coach. When asked how he feels about Tortorella, Avery said, “It’s pretty obvious.”
“How do I feel about Tortorella? I don’t know. Disappointed,” Avery said on The DA Show. “When his name comes up, the word disappointment is the word that sticks with me. . . . I felt like he didn’t protect some of the players in the locker room. (It had) nothing to do with me.”
One of those players, Avery said, was Derek Boogaard, who died in 2011 after an accidental drug and alcohol overdose. He was 28.
“He was a good teammate of ours and the guys loved him,” Avery said. “It was a tough situation for everybody. And Tortorella had a front seat to it.”
When asked for specifics, Avery said, “You gotta buy the book.”
Hockey coaches often tell players it’s not about them – but rather about the team – but Tortorella has been accused of making things about him. Is that hypocritical?
“People talk out of the side of their mouth when they say it’s about the team,” Avery said. “We have superstars. It’s ultimately an individual position. That’s a little confusing. I think that’s one of those sports terms that gets thrown out there too much.”
Avery, 37, also discussed former teammate Mike Modano, with whom he clashed. DA asked what happens when they see each other at NHL alumni events.
“We go to the other side of the room,” Avery said. “And I don’t go to NHL alumni events.”
DA asked why: because you’re not invited or because you don’t want to go?
“I paid my dues, so I’m definitely invited,” Avery said. “I just, yeah, I don’t go.”
Avery added that’s relationship with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is “non-existent.”
DA wondered if Bettman ever wanted Avery, a polarizing player, in the NHL.
“I’m sure he didn’t love having me around, but I’ve never had that conversation with him specifically,” Avery said. “I’m sure he could have had a league without Sean Avery.”