"Everyone likes to talk about how unclassy I am, and Fatso there just forgot to shake my hand, I guess."
That was Sean Avery talking about after the Rangers eliminated the Rangers in the first round of the playoffs in 2008. Avery left after the season for Dallas, Brodeur missed most of this year with injury but both men will be in the lineup at the Garden on Monday night as the Rangers and Devils renew acquaintances.
There's plenty on the line for both teams in the standings, of course, but it's impossible to resist the storyline of Avery vs. Brodeur. If you need a reminder of why every eye will be on the two players, here's a video refresher course courtesy of the New York Rangers Blog.
The big question, according to Greg Wyshinski of Puck Daddy, is if Avery's trip to anger management will result in a less provocative player? The way he got under the mild-mannered Brodeur's skin was a big reason why the Rangers won last year's playoff series and, it can be argued, a big reason why the Rangers ended years of struggle against the Devils when Avery came to town.
Avery's been fairly composed since returning to Broadway, but he fought against the Wild last week and again against the Penguins on Saturday. If there's ever a moment where the demon leaps off his shoulder and returns to the forefront, it's likely to be against the aptly named Devils.