NHL’s Rationale Behind Avery Suspension Lame, but Understandable

We’ve been sort of silently watching the reaction pertaining to Sean Avery’s comments yesterday.  In case you haven’t seen them yet, have a look:

There have been varied opinions about Sean’s comments.  From those adamantly against his indefinite suspension by the league, like our buddy Wyshynski, who used it to finally lay a hammer of Thor on the NHL’s constant string of hypocrisy when it comes to suspensions:


And that’s where the NHL looks absolutely foolish today. The League suspending Avery for opening his yap and making a frat boy joke elevates his antics back to legendary status.  This is the Avery Rule all over again; Avery looks irresponsible but mischievous, and the League looks like it’s making special considerations because the class clown acted up. Give him 10 games, give him 30; he wins again.

Seriously, if the NHL were half as vigilant on hits to the head as they are for Sean Avery’s nonsense, Simon Gagne might not hear church bells every time he closes his eyes.


To Eric Duhatschek of The Globe & Mail, who thinks the only shame is that Avery didn’t have to play against the Flames that night:


In some ways, it’s too bad the NHL didn’t take a day to ponder its response to Avery, which would have permitted him to play last night against Phaneuf, Iginla, Todd Bertuzzi and rest of the Flames. Calgary may be just a little-better-than-average NHL team at the moment in the skills department, but few teams stand up for themselves better than the Flames do.

Avery’s day in Bettman’s court is coming soon. His day of reckoning may have been postponed for the moment, but it will eventually be upon him, too.


To the just-plain disgusted Tom Gulitti of the Bergen Record, who points out that this isn’t the first time Sean’s had a “Stepped-over-the-line-even-for-him” moment”:


Last season, he was caught on camera by MSG Network making references to the Devils’ Martin Brodeur about his messy 2003 divorce. Brodeur confirmed those comments to me prior to last season’s playoff series between the Rangers and the Devils and then refused to shake Avery’s hand at the conclusion of that series.


So, what’s our take, you ask?  Well, as the post’s title states, the suspension – in line with Wyshynski’s thinking – does in fact show off how gullible and hypocritical they are when it comes to Avery’s mouth.  However, we understand that steps have to be taken to curb what he says, especially in cases like this in which, yes, his statement is 100% detrimental to the game.
What do you tell a young boy who sees Avery’s comments on the web or on TV?  Do you even want to think about what you say to a young girl?  Heaven forbid, some families might like the fact that the NHL’s stars tend to be good role models, who place team above personal interests, and don’t go out shooting themselves in the thigh, doing beer bongs, or beating their wives
Even insinuating that Avery makes jokes about a player (and a girl, who happens to be a human being as well) and his dating life, divorce, even cancer is sending the message that NHL players are no better than the rest of them.  Sure, there are some hockey players who are no angels, but they keep it quiet.  We know that’s a lame cop-out, but it’s an effective one nonetheless.  
If the NHL has something good to say about it’s image, it’s that you can still at least pretend to look up to some of it’s players.  If Sean Avery’s comments yesterday changed the opinion of one parent with disposable income’s position on that, then damn right Bettman had to suspend him.

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