ESPN reports that the NHL indefinitely suspended soon to be ex-Dallas Stars forward and NHL bad boy, i.e. player without any talent that may be known more for hookers than hockey, Sean Avery because of his comments about his former girlfriend, Elisha Cuthbert. After the morning skate before Tuesday's game with Calgary, Avery walked by reporters, stopped, and stated:
"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."
Avery directed his comments toward Calgary defenseman Dion Phaneuf, who now dates Cuthbert. By the way, video is available just in case you do now know what it is like seeing an idiot speak.
Even before Dallas and Calgary dropped the puck, Gary Bettman, the worst league commissioner of all commissioners, suspended because Avery delivered "inappropriate public comments, not pertaining to the game." According to the League Avery's words could have led to a fight in that night's game. I am Shocked! Shocked! A Fight? In Hockey? And the fight might not have anything to do with the game itself? I wonder how much of a hickey game actually concerns hockey these days.
While Avery's comments are beyond ill-advised and deplorable (please reread those words, I am not defending what Avery said), they reveal a few problems with the NHL.
First, in his apology Avery apologized, stated, "It was a bad attempt to build excitement for the game." If your game needs excitement to get fans "up" for the game and you think this will help, then your game is not a real game.
And I'm sorry Michael Farber, Avery has not embarrassed the game any more than the league has embarrassed the game. Just remember: #7 of the Calgary Flames, Todd Bertuzzi, broke another player's neck in an on-ice act of revenge. For some reason, the NHL still allows him to receive million dollar contracts. That is an embarrassment.
Second, the Dallas Stars purged Avery from the team's roster, meaning he will not be back even when the NHL decides to announce how long his suspension will be. Since this is his fourth NHL team, moving form team to team because his previous teams grew to dislike his antics, not many NHL teams may take a chance on him. Maybe he'll languish in the minors. Maybe another team will sign him. Maybe the Dallas Stars will buy-out his contract (i.e. give him $8,000,000 to never play again). Who knows.
Yet, while the league will probably give Avery a heavy punishment, the NHL as an organization and the teams in the NHL fail to deliver this type of punishment to players that attempt to injure other players, especially with hits to the head. While I find Avery's comments inappropriate in so many ways, I do think it is slightly odd that the NHL will punish a player for speech (as most leagues do, especially when players or coaches criticize the league of the refs), no matter how unwise it is, but will allow players to inflict serious injury upon one another each and every game unless a thug deliberately swings a stick at someone's head. Hits that leave people with a concussion or out of the game for a year or prematurely end their career, well, that is part of the game.
Third, this is just another example that there are different standards of justice in the NHL. Most players, especially stars, would not receive a heavy punishment. Useless players, like Avery, will receive a suspension. Imagine that: completing standards of justice. Hmph. That's new.
To see more of Sean Avery's tactics, see why the NHL adopted the Avery Rule (when a player receives a penalty because that player stands in front of the goalie and waving his stick without any intention of actually playing the game).
By the way, Bret "foot in the crease" Hull signed Avery against the wishes of management. I wonder if he will lose his job.