Avery: "It's The Playoffs, Bro"
The two players it was impossible to stop watching tonight were Alex Ovechkin and Sean Avery. Ovechkin, for obvious reasons: every time he intercepts the puck and swoops toward the net, the crowd inhales. Heck, Avery for obvious reasons too, though the crowd response is slightly different. Dread, in some corners of the arena.
For all the talk this week of ignoring him and his duffel-bag full of antics, thereby turning his act into a one-man show....well, a few Caps seemed to notice his presence. There was no shortage of chirping, including when he picked up a silly holding penalty in the first.
"I didn't know, was he out there?" Bruce Boudreau deadpanned during a quiet and somber press conference.
Boudreau was also asked about the Scott Gomez goal which tied the game at 1; Avery had gotten tangled up with Mike Green at the blue line while Gomez got free. Boudreau was asked whether he was surprised nothing was called; "yes," he said. "Yes, I was surprised."
"They kind of tripped me up," Green said, "but unfortunately the refs didn't see it, and that's the way it is in the playoffs."
Green seemed a particular target of Avery's affections; the two got tangled up repeatedly, including once near the end of the third, when Green's skate seemed to clip Avery's ear during contact near the Rangers bench.
"Yeah, sure," Green said, when asked if Avery was targeting him. "I felt like that, too. But I liked it. It makes me play stronger."
Avery was in a hurry to get out of the Rangers' locker room, and talked only briefly with reporters. There was blood streaming down the outside of his ear; he said he didn't know how he had been cut. He was asked about his various run-ins with the Caps; "it's the playoffs, bro," he said.
He was asked whether he had succeeded in annoying the Caps; "I don't know. I just played my game," he said.
He was asked whether he sensed any shakiness in Jose Theodore; "I just think we stuck to our game and played the way we were supposed to," he said.
And he was asked again whether he really had no idea what had happened to his bloody ear.
"No," he said. "You want to ask me again? Maybe I'll remember?"
Fans, by the way, also seemed to notice Avery.
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