Best Ranger - 2009
Technically, we suppose, Henrik Lundqvist should be considered the Rangers' best player—the Swedish goaltender has had more to do with the team's improved fortunes in recent years than anyone else on the squad. Ah, but what a narrow definition of "best" that would be! No, our version of "best" also involves notions like grittiness, on-ice energy, and the ability to turn suddenly into a very, very loose cannon. So our vote goes to that container of chemically unstable hockey nitroglycerin known as Sean Avery. A good enough left-winger, we admire the noted sparkplug for his even more significant intangibles—his emotional instability, his love of women's fashion, and his almost Churchillian quotability, such as in the impromptu pre-game press conference he called in 2008 to discuss his former girlfriends and matters of the heart: "I'm just going to say one thing. I'm really happy to be back in Calgary. I love Canada. I just want to comment on how it's become like a common thing in the NHL for guys to fall in love with my sloppy seconds. I don't know what that's about. But enjoy the game tonight."