avery made the bed he sleeps in. he perfectly groomed himself to be utterly hated around the league for being a dirty pest and known for his over-the-top antics (see: blowdeur fiasco). i think the "torts holding him back" scenario goes like this: torts had a talk with him about his play and play style, surely citing the PO series last season against the caps. he wouldn't let avery be a liability again this season and cost the team games and probably said if he kept up his usual shtick, he'd be seeing more and more of the bench. like people said earlier it's not like that's some kind of "you have to do this instead of what you're doing now" threat and is absolutely reasonable to tell him to cut back on the penalties, but just a reminder of what's to come if he just goes around all willy nilly. this, coupled with him ending up in the sin bin for nearly any contact towards another player now (and obviously those anger management sessions he went to), he holds himself back willingly, yet necessarily if he wants to continue playing. although that raises the question: what good is playing if you're half-assing what you're supposed to be doing?
@Fitzy: avery's not even close to being a fighter, he's a bona fide pest. nothing more, nothing less. he has the ability to score a few goals, get a few deflections and things of that sort, but at the end of the day his game is to get under the other team's skin.
Larry Brooks is good to read when the team isn't doing well because he isn't afraid to call people out and write very critical material (whether it is warranted to specific people or not). I don't like reading Brooksie when things are going well because then it's just boring.
Andrew Gross is the best beat writer in my opinion and he usually has a few sarcastic remarks when the team is bad but he stays professional and doesn't rant or point fingers when the team plays bad (for the most part) -- he just gives the reader the tools to make their own conclusion.
The NY Post is a tabloid newspaper, so that's why you are getting some more sandpaper and "jam" as Torts likes to say when you read Brooksie's critiques.
I don't know but this year Avery has barely been noticeable to me. I remember in previous seasons when he was such an agitator and a pest to the other team and it was apparent, this year I forget he's on the ice in certain games.
It's difficult, Avery can't completely let loose because it would hurt the team, why do stupid **** and put the team down a man? At the same time, Avery's trying to be more of a hockey player, he still starts stuff if you pay attention, every time the opposing goalie covers up he'll shove the closest d-man or he'll start something after the whistle with the closest player. It's not that he's being held back he's being selective, a controlled aggression kinda like Happy Gilmore