I respect that because I felt the exact same way. I was pissed when the Rangers traded for him because, even though we gave up next to nothing, I thought he'd be more of a distraction than anything else. But once I saw the effect that he had on the team I quickly changed my tune.
I'd be willing to bet that you (or at least most Devils fans) would have the same reaction.
Yeah, we probably would have. I'd like to say we wouldn't, but in all likely hood if he was able to be a pest and play well we would like him.
My argument is this: Sean Avery is not a goon. He doesn’t hit from behind. He doesn’t swing his stick at people’s heads. He doesn’t engage in slew-footing like Evgeni Malkin did in pathetic sore-loser fashion at the end of Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Rather, Avery is a modern agitator with an old-school edge. And he’s a good interview because he’s articulate and will say a thing or two that catches everyone off-guard. He also has a personality off the ice.
Avery actually makes me laugh out loud when I watch the Rangers, partly because of the way he goes about getting under his opponent’s skin (yapping away from behind his infamous black mouth guard, throwing well-timed body checks, and of course face-washing players during post-whistle get-togethers), but mostly because he’s actually a terrific hockey player.
It truly is a joy to watch the guy play the game. Most people can’t get past the agitation factor to recognize this, and that quite frankly is their loss.