Monday, December 15, 2008

Stars protect world's children from menace Avery

You know what I love about this column by Kelly Hrudey? Its balance and mature tone. After all, it's not often that sports fans are granted the opportunity to read prose as eloquent as what Hrudey provides here

(Sean Avery) is a master manipulator of people and his “act” is just so transparent.
“Please forgive me, oh woe is me. Oh, boo hoo, I asked for forgiveness, I tried to apologize to everyone.”

Now, that's ritin'.


So, yeah. Dallas cut ties with Avery today. They are going to eat his salary, electing not to seek a legal action to null the contract (likely because they would have their ass handed to them by any second year law student if they tried).

They say they will try and move him after he completes a program that is widely being described as anger management. What anger management has to do with someone acting like a frat boy is unclear, but that's what's going down.

But, Dallas isn't out to get Avery
This was not a witch hunt. We understand Sean had problems, people are human, we don't want to ruin Sean or his career

That would be Brett Hull speaking, a man that may have gotten himself in trouble a few times in his career for things he said. No, it's no witch hunt. It's far less rational than that.

I beat this to death last week, but it should be repeated. Sean Avery saying "sloppy seconds" = stupid and really crass. He's probably a bit of an ass. I'm not sure I'd want to have a beer with him. But, it was far less problematic than much of the violent behaviour that happens pretty much every week in the NHL. It certainly wasn't even close to being as bad as what Todd Bertuzzi did and the hockey world practically tripped over itself to forgive him (Steve Moore's the bad guy there, you know).

If the Dallas Stars want to screw themselves by eating a $15.5 million contract, that's their choice. It's a staggeringly bad choice, but it's theirs to make. If the NHL blacklists Avery -- if it truly colludes to ensure that he never plays again -- it will deserve whatever legal action that results.

Related: With his trademark understated, sharp logic Mirtle shows us why it isn't Avery's fault the Stars suck.


Duane Rollins said...

Full disclosure: I was a huge Washington Caps fan in the late '80s. I'm not sure I've forgiven Hrudey for the four overtime game on Easter '87. I can still see the bastard stopping a Mike Gartner shot with the butt end of his stick.

Pattington said...

I am curious as to why you think letting Avery go is "a staggeringly bad choice"? I would argue that it is an expensive one, for sure, but I wouldn't say it is bad, given the teams attitude toward him.

Duane Rollins said...

The salary cap. If they dig their heels in and just sit him they are only hurting themselves -- especially in two years time when the cap is likely down $10-million. These are pro athletes. They should suck it up and be professionals until Dallas can move him -- something that will be much easier if he is playing. It's not as if it would be the first time any of them played with someone they couldn't stand.

Anonymous said...

Just watch: I'll bet anyone on here a $20 iTunes gift card the Leafs will try to pick Avery up. Just this sinking feeling. ;)

Duane Rollins said...

FWIW I think he'll be playing somewhere by years end. I'd suggest Avery has a better chance to play in a playoff game than the Stars do.

sager said...

Have to love ESPN's take: "Get rid of him before someone actually tunes in! Hurry!"

It all comes back to hockey's culture of exceptionalism. They have this fixation on being "not like" the athletes in other sports. I'll leave it open to suggestion why there is such an obsession.

Anonymous said...

I like it, it's the "idiot rule", he was an idiot, now he goes home. Good point on Bertuzzi though, that was the type of pure thuggery that makes this a fringe sport, and honestly, I wouldn't want to have a beer with him either. We can justify it and even enjoy watching the local junior B kids fight every night down at the local barn. But at the end of the day, no other sport even permits the distractions of revenge and rage. As a coach, I know it just takes focus away from what is a hard game to play at the best of times. Once heard a commentator attribute the Ducks Stanley Cup win to the fact they had FOUGHT THE MOST during the regular season (despite no playoff fights) and that was why fighting was up the following season. RIDICULOUS. I enjoy a fight and am not saying ban it. But I'm not clouded by the ideology that says "it's part of the game" either. There are plenty of rough-tough sports where such things have NEVER been allowed, some of which where fighting is likely to get you 15 yards, a tongue-lashing from the coach and even lose you the game. Don't ban it, fans like it, but "a necessary part of the game"? Please. How'd I get off on that tangent? Well, I guess the Bertuzzi angle and how Avery thinks idiot behavior is also "part of the game". And really, it's what holds the game back.

Dennis Prouse said...

Re-entry waivers seems like it might be the best solution here. His current salary makes no sense, but at $2 million a year he might be an attractive option for someone IF he is ready to play.

To me, the biggest problem with Avery is on the ice, not off it. His performance on the ice has been poor, leading one to suspect that he has lost his passion for the game. Avery is, by and large, a defensive specialist. He skates very well, plays tough, and can annoy the hell out of his opponents. He can score a bit, but really he is a checker who can score, rather than a scorer who can check. I see him as a deluxe version of Jarko Ruutu or Matt Cooke.

In Dallas, however, Avery was slacking at practice, and refused to play the "Dallas way". He was out there freelancing like Pavel Bure in his heyday, without Bure's hands. If Avery is committed to being a hockey player, and still has a passion for the game, then I believe he could still be a very strong, productive player in the league. If I am a GM, Avery's passion for the game is my primary concern, not whether or not he can make friends in the room.

sager said...

People can say whatever they want, but Mirtle dug this out: Avery was the the most effective forward on the Stars.

Avery's shenanigans aren't what's making the Dallas goalies not stop the puck at the rate to which the team has been accustomed.

He'll get another shot, but to make it out like he was a terrible player is just untrue.

Dennis Prouse said...

Hey, no question that Avery isn't the reason why Marty Turco's game has suddenly abandoned him, why Modano is suddenly starting to look old, and why Morrow went down for the year with a knee injury. A guy as thoroughly unlikeable as that, though, with only three goals in 23 games, sure does make for a handy scapegoat.

There is no doubt more to this story than we are being told. I have no doubt that Avery managed to enrage a couple of the team leaders in Dallas through something that he said or did. Perhaps he has been leading an, err, "active" social life in Dallas, thus leading to Emery-esque incidents that were bound to surface soon. One thing on which we can agree is that there is no way this is stemming simply from the Calgary media incident, and his play to date. There has to be more to it than that.

Tim in London said...


Hockey is not a fringe sport b/c of the likes of Avery. If that was the case, the NBA would be one due to the Pacers going into the crowd, Artest strangling his coach etc. There are more thugs in the NBA, NFL and MLB on any given day than there are in NHL history. The two are unrelated completely.