Avery and the Rangers hoping for a possible reunion in the near future

Before the start of Saturday night’s Manitoba Moose-Hartford Wolf Pack AHL hockey game, the Hartford Civic Center was buzzing with the anticipated return of outspoken forward Sean Avery from his NHL suspension. The Dallas Stars, who hold his contractual rights, assigned him to the New York Rangers minor league affiliate in Hartford last week.

The hope is for Avery to have a successful audition and be reacquired by his former team before the trading deadline in early March. If he shows the same energetic play on each line shift that was his trademark with the Rangers, then it’s a foregone conclusion that they will claim him off waivers from the Stars. Each team will be required to pay half of Avery’s salary for the remainder of the contract.

The Rangers need a boost in order to knock themselves out of their lethargic play that has plagued them all season. Their top players have not performed well, as Scott Gomez and Chris Drury have seemingly lost their respective games. Both were supposed to be team leaders, but instead they have played without much confidence.

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Rangers prospect Cherepanov dies during game

New York Rangers 19-year old prospect Alexei Cherepanov died during a game in Russia on Monday night. The New York Post is reporting that he suffered a heart attack and collapsed on the bench.

Alexei CherepanovFormer Rangers captain Jaromir Jagr had just finished a shift with Cherepanov and was talking to the him when the Russian suddenly collapsed.

TSN of Canada reported that medical officials attempted to get Cherepanov’s heart beating again. According to the web site, the ambulance that is normally at all games had already departed and had to be called back to the arena. The report stated that it took between “15 and 20 minutes” to transport Cherepanov from the arena to the hospital.

“They tried to get his heart started again but they couldn’t,” Omsk head coach Wayne Fleming told the web site.

New York general manager Glen Sather addressed the tragedy in a statement released by the team.
“We are extremely saddened by the tragic passing of Alexei,” Sather said. “On behalf of the New York Rangers organization, I would like to extend our deepest sympathies to his family. Alexei was an intelligent, energetic young man with tremendous talent and an extremely bright future.”

“He was a great kid,” Cherepanov’s agent, Jay Grossman, told TSN. “He had a great smile and was an outstanding player with a great future on and off the ice. It’s both shocking and devastating news for all of us.”

Nineteen year olds aren’t supposed to suffer heart attacks. This young man had his entire life in front of him and it’s a sad tragedy.

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