Former New York Rangers agitator Sean Avery has never been shy to voice his opinion and in an interview with Dan Marrazza of ESPN.com, he didn’t disappoint.
Avery talked about his personality, his reputation and his fit in the National Hockey League, among many topics. One of the topics brought up was his fondness for his former minor-league coach and current Toronto Maple Leafs bench boss Mike Babcock. Avery offered glowing praise.
“Babcock had the same mentality as we did. He was bringing it every single day and was as hard as he wanted to be on us. He was developing his own language, which he now uses so well to talk to players and keep the Toronto media from ever having a clue what he’s thinking. The Toronto media would get the Leafs’ last coach, Randy Carlyle, all fired up. He wouldn’t talk to them for days. Babcock wouldn’t show his cards. He has a manipulative personality for the purpose of being a good coach — you have to have one.”
Avery continued and said his former New York Rangers coach John Tortorella didn’t have the same ability, and that all he would do is scream at players and think it was motivation.
“John Tortorella has no manipulation in him whatsoever. He only has one gear, and that’s to scream at people and thinks that that’s manipulation or motivation. But it’s not. It doesn’t work on rich players. They can say, ‘F— you. We’re going somewhere else.’ Or ‘We’ll get rid of you’ — and we will.”
The 35-year-old hasn’t been quiet about his dislike for Tortorella in the past, so it’s not a surprise to hear Avery criticize him. While the shot may be blatant, Avery does have a point about Babcock’s impressive ability to not show his cards – something which has gotten Tortorella into trouble. Tortorella has been better behaved this season with the Columbus Blue Jackets, but he could learn a thing or two from Babcock.