Thursday, December 04, 2008

Kill the pig! Bash his head!!

All Sean Avery! All the time!!
Below the jump. Updated constantly.

See if you see anything missing from the Dallas Stars roster.

Edit: As I type we are about 30 minutes away from the start of Sean Avery's meeting with Gary Bettman in New York. It's likely an hour or so from when the suspension will be announced.

I've heard some experts predict that he will get as much as 15 games, which would make it one of the all-time longest suspensions.

With that in mind, it's useful to look at the history of how the NHL has handled racial slurs (the closest parallel to what Avery did. Today's progressive feminism is a new thing for the league, I guess) . Bnet has a nice little summery here.

Three games has been the max. And, that was with Chris Simon, a man that was about as popular as Avery. Speaking of Simon, I'm still looking for a history of how the NHL has handled incidents of of racism towards natives. I suspect I'll be looking for a while.

Edit 2: No word yet as of 12:20 p.m. EST. About 10 minutes ago Hockey Central at Noon's Daren Millard had these two gems back to back.

First: "I hope they give him 15 games," said with disgust dripping off the tongue.
Then: "(paraphrasing) The only thing I've heard is maybe they should have let him play against Calgary so that justice could have been served on the ice," said with barely hidden regret.

So, let's review. Using the term "sloppy seconds" is grounds for the 12th longest suspension in NHL history, yet openly wishing that the Flames had the chance to beat the snot out of him — something that would, it always needs to be said, land you in jail if it happened on the street, is perfectly reasonable. It's puckhead thinking at its most embarrassing, illogical best.

Sloppy seconds is more stupid than it is truly offensive (although there is an element of flippancy to the term that is offensive. It's saying that women have no worth other than as conquests for men. She's nothing but someone I once had sex with...). A suspension in line with what others have received for similar things (see above) is likely in order. Some sensitivity training? Why not. But, 15 games? It simply isn't justifiable. Not with the NHL's past history it isn't.

Edit 3: (Puck Daddy has a very comprehensive post.)

Edit 4: So, it's 5:11 p.m. EST and I've yet to see a NHL press release show up in my inbox with the title "League suspends Dallas Star..." So, it might be tomorrow before we get a ruling on this. Late tomorrow, as one can expect with any touchy press release.

Of course that means we have to listen to the puritans in the working puckhead media for another day. So, what a delay accomplishes God only knows.

The other possibility here is that the league's lawyers are working overtime to find a way to justify a lengthy suspension. 'Cause, as stated, it isn't really justifiable and Avery doesn't strike me as a good soldier that will lie down and take it if Bettman and co go all medieval.

Edit 5: Did everyone see that the Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch wrote that it is, "Time to ban Sean Avery from the NHL for life ...

"Make an example of this guy. Ban him for life. Classless. Conduct detrimental to the game is about the least of the worries. Enough of Avery already. Bad actor. Bad act. Time for him to go. For good."

Edit 6: God love Colby Cosh:

A surprising number of sportswriters have had no problem with the league’s instant invention of a retroactive campus-style speech code to deal with Avery’s outburst. Perhaps it’s because their own freedom of speech is hostage to abusive NHL front offices; your average hockey writer bites his tongue so much that the damn thing drops right off about a week into his career. The rest of us, however, have no trouble understanding what is wrong with a business that is not in the opinion trade monitoring an employee’s off-duty speech and punishing him for it
How refreshing to see a MSM article -- albeit from a guy that only writes about hockey peripherally -- that actually tries to defend Avery a bit. Yes, he's an tool at times, but my the reaction you would have thought he had hunted down an opposing player in a premeditated fashion, jumped him from behind and slammed his head into the ice so hard it broke his neck. It's a good thing you never see that type of behaviour in hockey and the worse thing Gary Bettman has to deal with is Avery's (who has never been suspended before, by the way) potty mouth.

Edit 6.5: Glove tap to Mr. Cosh himself who sent me this link in an e-mail exchange. Some are starting to break through the Group Think.

Edit 7: It's six games. By three games, it's the longest NHL suspension for non-violent behaviour in history. It likely won't satisfy the majority of bloodthirsty puckheads in the media and in society.

It goes without saying that if the league treated actual violent behaviour this seriously there would be a lot less players with eight-month long headaches.

More reaction to come, I'm sure...

Edit 8: Here is the NHL press release:


NEW YORK (December 5, 2008) -- Dallas Stars forward Sean Avery
has been suspended for six games, without pay, as a result of inappropriate
public comments that he made Tuesday in Calgary. Avery has agreed to seek a
professional anger management evaluation and, if necessary, structured
counseling in response to a pattern of unacceptable and antisocial
Avery met with Commissioner Bettman at a hearing in New York
yesterday. Also in attendance were NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly, NHL
Senior Executive Vice President and Director of Hockey Operations Colin
Campbell, NHL Associate Counsel Jessica Berman, Dallas Stars co-General
Manager Brett Hull, NHLPA General Counsel Ian Penny, NHLPA Director of
Player Affairs Glenn Healy and Avery’s agent, Pat Morris.
“Mr. Avery has expressed remorse for his recent comments and has
sought a professional anger management evaluation,” Commissioner Bettman
said. “I will require that he follow through with that process as a
condition of his returning to the ice and that he complies with any and all
“Mr. Avery has been warned repeatedly about his conduct and comments,
which have too often been at odds with the manner in which his more than
700 fellow players conduct themselves.
“Playing in the National Hockey League is a privilege, requiring a
high standard of personal behavior. Mr. Avery forfeits that privilege for
six games.”
Avery was suspended in accordance with the provisions of NHL By-Law
17 and Article 6 of the NHL Constitution for conduct "detrimental to the
League or game of hockey.”
In addition to the two games already served, Avery will miss
games Dec. 5 vs. Colorado, Dec. 10 vs. Phoenix, Dec. 12 vs. Detroit and
Dec. 13 at Nashville.

Edit 9: People close to the game, of course, have always held deeply progressive feelings about the place of women in and around it:

So, the league's reaction to Avery is just really keeping in that tradition.


Dennis Prouse said...

Media reports are today that Avery is done in Dallas. They flat out don't want him back in the room, period. This isn't based solely on the recent episode - if you read James Duthie's column today, there are three Dallas players quoted as saying they never want to see the guy again. Not surprisingly, he has been a complete goof right from the word go. He doesn't talk to anyone, doesn't practice hard, and won't play the "Dallas way", i.e. a strict, complex defensive system.

You can be a flake if you are producing, and there are plenty of examples over the years in sports to back that up. When you only have three goals so far, though, as Avery does, you very quickly go from "colourful" to "cancer".

It's hard to figure out what they can do with the guy. A buyout at this early stage in his deal would be a salary cap nightmare, and Dallas doesn't have an AHL affiliate. (Personally, I would like to see him assigned to the northernmost team in the KHL, where Vogue magazine takes three months to arrive.)

Oh, and remember a year ago, when everyone hailed what a great move it was to have Brett Hull go right to the GM's suite without any real experience? Nice signing, Brett. A few discreet phone calls to Ranger players would have told him everything he needed to know. Wouldn't you think that if you were about to spend $15 million, you would do a background check?

Anonymous said...

Thanks to the Frost trial, I started doing a quick scan of the sports section before I let my son (age 10) turn on TSN during breakfast. I don't blame sports media for covering that trial, but it covered a lot of issues I'd sooner shield him from, for a few more years anyway.

Thankfully, I caught the Avery thing, and knowing that it would get more coverage than it deserved, so no sports news in our house yesterday morning. "But I just want to see the highlights from the Habs-Atlanta game!" We ended up watching them on

Used to be that I encouraged him to watch sports for a lot of reasons, not least of which was the way hockey players conducted themselves off the ice. Seeing the guys he has posters of (Koivu, Iginla, Sakic, Alfie) being models of humility and decency really helped me reinforce those types of behaviours in everyday life. I certainly accept that I'm the biggest role model in his life, but having those types of guys (and there tons more) in his favourite sport sure help.

Now, I have just come to accept the fact that I can't count on sports news being simply highlights/trade news/hirings and firings. It saddens me, though, that I have to rein our common love of hockey, even a little. And, I'm not kidding myself that I can put him in a bubble. All his chums at school are as hockey-obsessed as he is, so the term "sloppy seconds" will come up, and I know I'll have to have something to offer up (cue middle-aged guts churning). Everytime some self-promoting never-was like Avery seeks attention like this, it robs all kids of just a little of their innocence. And it makes me just a little more reluctant to support that league. Welcome to my Carlsberg years.

As for Avery, I look forward to the day that he's just a punchline, not a headline anymore.

sager said...

On the one level, yeah, the guy's a cancer. Hey, maybe Avery and Emery will end up on the same team!

You know, Av-e-ry and Em-er-y ... live together in perfect harmony.

(I'm so, so sorry.)

Paraphrasing Amy Poehler and Tina Fey.

"Tonight we are a crossing party lines to address the very ugly role that sexism is playing in the NHL."
"An issue that, frankly, I am surprised to hear people suddenly care about."

A couple years ago you had one commentator getting mad over the players' spouses being allowed on the ice during the Cup celebration -- "who are these people?" And then there was that, "It's time" commercial.

Duane makes a good point. They've come down hard on guys for racial comments ... sexist comments shouldn't be allowed to pass.

Anonymous said...

Its not the greatest way to do it but this bum did get the NHL noticed on ESPN and in the states for the first time this year...just like bettman wants

Anonymous said...

I hear that Commish Bettman is mulling over a decision to punish Sean Avery by appointing him an Ottawa Senator for life, with no recourse for appeal nor parole.

In other news, Harper's Bizarre had his hearing with Michaelle Jean and has been handed out a six-week suspension with paid holiday for calling Tim Hortons a sloppy second to Starbucks.

This will give him time to come up with a new CBA, one that will be acceptable to the Trinity of Fools On The Hill, aka the New Defenders of Parliament, the U-Tube Liberated Dion who is seemingly good enough to be PM but unwanted as leader and the BBQ and their charred poutine.

Meanwhile, the GG has offered Stevie to teach him how to cook perogies while the House Of Lafs is prorogued.

Doctor Ballard

Anonymous said...

RE: That Kingston neanderthal

Back in 1991, when our national women's team was wearing their pink sweaters at the the women's world championships in Ottawa, Cherry was probably their staunchest supporter in the media. He was one of the earliest adopters in international women's hockey, and he continues to be a supporter.

Ask anyone involved in girls/women's hockey about Don Cherry, and you'll get positive feedback.


Duane Rollins said...

Cherry is, of course, an easy target by half. But, the point I was making by linking the video is that making flip statements about women/French people/Europeans/pretty much any group you can think of has been a part of hockey and sport for a long time. I've already explained why sloppy seconds is offensive. I agree that a small suspension was appropriate. I will continue to be bothered by the hypocrisy widely demonstrated in the hockey media.

Avery's act pre-dates him. The man with the ugly suits has been at it since Avery was in diapers. Yet, a lot of the more extreme viewpoints on Avery are held by people that adore Cherry and would defend pretty much anything that comes out of his mouth.