No, I'm not talking about Sean Avery. I am talking about the Sabres response to Avery's comments. For those of you who missed it, Avery had the following to say prior to the series, "I'm just going to go out and try to punish their (defense) and make them realize this is going to be a real long series for them. I'm going to try to hurt them and hit them and get in their face as much as I can. It's going to turn into a war as of Wednesday."
Buffalo's response? Ryan Miller summed it up best, "He's talented enough to play in the NHL without the drama."
Yet that's not the Avery way. People have been wondering when (not if) this guy was going to revert to the player he was in LA when he was not exactly the most popular guy on the team. I don't know if that's going to happen, but what I do know is that the Sabres have been responding to adversity all season long.
They got off to a hot start and then they coasted. Other teams got close to them in the standings, they pressed again to pad their lead and then they coasted. Other teams got close again, they again pressed to pad their lead and then they coasted. They have been turning the intensity on and off all season long at will.
The way to beat the Sabres is to lull them to sleep. The Islanders did a great job of that. Sean Avery's mouth isn't going to let the Rangers do that (though Tom Renney's mouth doesn't help, either). His play was largely irrelevant.
Avery's stats for game 1: 0G, OA, 4PIM, -3
So, back to the title of this post, A George divided against itself... I think the Sabres hope Avery keeps his jaws flapping. I think the Sabres hope the other Rangers start to get pissed at him.
On second thought, I don't think the Sabres really care one way or the other about him.