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Callahan Backs Tortorella After Avery Rips Rangers Coach Via Twitter

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - After Saturday night's 3-0 shut out loss to the Montreal Canadiens, former New York Rangers winger Sean Avery took to Twitter to rip Rangers head coach John Tortorella.

Avery accused Tortorella of being universally hated by his players.

He tweeted Saturday: "Fire this CLOWN. His players hate him and wont play for his (expletive).... @imseanavery is #winning."

Rangers captain Ryan Callahan spoke on behalf of his teammates with the following statement:

"Sean Avery's comments solely represent his own thoughts and opinions. He did not speak for us as a team when he was here and certainly does not now," Callahan stated.

Tortorella previously said Avery "doesn't belong in the league" after the controversial winger was suspended by the Dallas Stars in 2008 after making off-color remarks about former girlfriend Elisha Cuthbert.  At the time, Tortorella was working for TSN Canada.

"He's embarrassed himself, he's embarrassed the organization, he's embarrassed the league and he's embarrassed his teammates, who have to look out for him. Send him home. He doesn't belong in the league," Tortorella said in 2008.

Avery was claimed off of waivers after Tortorella took over the Rangers. Their time together in New York was contentious.  Avery was waived by the Rangers on December 30, 2011; he was sent home by the team on March 5, 2012 after being scratched by the Connecticut Whale for 15 games.  He has not formally retired and remains a free agent.

Avery said in March 2012 that he had "thrown his skates in the Hudson River."  Even though Avery hasn't been around the Rangers for a year, his comments drew a response not only from Callahan, but other members of the Rangers including center Derek Stepan.

Stepan backed Tortorella after being shown Avery's tweet following New York's defeat in Montreal.

"Our problem isn't with our coaching staff, and it hasn't been," Stepan told reporters. "And I think if you asked everyone on our team, they would say the same thing, that that's not the case here … I don't agree with (Avery's tweet) at all, no. I think it's safe to say that all 23 guys on our roster would say that's not the case."

Avery wasn't done taking shots at the Rangers as he tweeted on Sunday in response to the Rangers' official statement: "Find myself #listening to Gotta Get Up by Harry Nilsson.....Relax with the official statements its kinda embarrassing."

The Rangers return home to Madison Square Garden on Monday night to face the Winnipeg Jets at 7 p.m.

What do you make of Avery's comments? Does he have a point? Sound off below...

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