The news that New York Rangers forward Sean Avery had sustained a lacerated spleen and was hospitalized rippled through the Rangers’ practice on Wednesday morning, another hurdle thrown in front of a team facing elimination in its playoff series against Pittsburgh.
Avery was injured during the Rangers’ 5-3 loss to the Penguins on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden, although no one knows precisely when.
A few players said Avery did not seem well between the second and third periods, but it was not until after the game that the team doctors suspected something serious and drove him to St. Vincent’s Manhattan Hospital.
After tests, Avery was admitted to the intensive care unit. The Rangers said he would not have surgery and was expected to make a full recovery. He will not play again this season.
“It’s tough,” Rangers coach Tom Renney said. “This is a good hockey player that can make a lot happen for our team.”
Avery, 28, has been a huge factor for the Rangers since he was acquired from the Los Angeles Kings at the trading deadline last season. He is the Rangers’ premier agitator, a player known as much for antagonizing opponents as for his hockey skills.
But he has also developed into a major offensive contributor on the Rangers second line. He scored 15 goals in the regular season and had four goals and three assists in the playoffs.
But the number most associated with him is the Rangers record with him in the lineup: 33-14-10 in the regular season; in games Avery missed with injuries, they were 9-13-3.