December 03, 2008

Very sloppy indeed: How do we stop Sean Avery's mouth? Stop enabling him.

By now we've all read or heard or seen National Hockey League forward Sean Avery's amazingly insulting comment about his former girlfriends and their NHL beaus.

Avery has been suspended indefinitely by the league, as he should have been. Gamesmanship is one thing, but seeking out the camera to deliver personal swipes is crossing the line.

This is what we expect from Avery, a mildly talented buffoon who has spent his career being sought and then rejected. Now on his fourth team, he comes in and makes himself welcome by aggravating the opposition, but eventually wears out his welcome with his attention-whoring ways.

And yet franchises continue to hire him and the public continues to enable his behaviour. He gets paid and very well to be a jerk.

So if Avery, who has managed to pile up all of 177 points in 402 career games, isn't the problem, who is?

We are.

We, the hockey-loving public, who continue to mouth platitudes about how it's necessary to have a "character" guy on a winning team we're to blame.

No team on which Avery has played has advanced past the second round of the playoffs. He did play 36 games for the Red Wings in their run to the Stanley Cup in 2001-02, but he was deemed expendable and left off the postseason roster. The next season, same deal.

And "character" is an interesting word. If a guy is wearing your rival's jersey and he makes remarks about someone's bout with cancer, he's a complete tool. But if he does it in your team's sweater, he's a "character" guy.

No, he isn't. He's just a tool whose parents did a poor job raising him.

The NHL is.

The league inadvertently protected Avery by suspending him before he could take the ice against Calgary on Tuesday. Had he played, Avery would have faced Dion Phaneuf (who is dating one of Avery's ex-girlfriends) and the rest of the Flames, who would have been likely to run him repeatedly.

Or perhaps they wouldn't have. The NHL is also protecting Avery and other idiots like him by keeping the instigator rule, which penalizes those who would ask Avery to back up his mouth with two fists.

The rule was created with good intentions, but instead has allowed a proliferation of headhunting, boarding and other chippy play to go unpunished. That's ridiculous, and it's going to get a superstar's career ended.

Drop the rule and let the players police themselves, NHL they'll do a far better job than you have.

The hockey media is.

Was there really any reason to even talk with Avery?

Is he an integral part of the Stars' game plan coming into Tuesday night's contest? At 10 points (and 77 penalty minutes) through 23 games, no, he isn't.

But the media knows Avery has a big mouth and either isn't afraid to use it or is too stupid to know when to keep it shut. So the cameras and the recorders come out when he deigns to speak.

It's lazy and it's not journalism -- it's lowest common denominator junk. Use better judgment, media types. You know the difference between news and tripe, and so do we.

If you stop giving Avery a platform to spout his garbage, he'll wither and die like the weed he is.

And we'll all be the better for it.

posted by wfrazerjr to hockey at 11:41 AM - 15 comments

Speaking as a Stars fan, I'd never describe Avery as a "character" guy. But I did think he could help them on the ice this year. That's working out swimmingly so far.

posted by rcade at 01:37 PM on December 03, 2008

When I heard what Avery said, I had no clue what he was talking about. Thank goodness the NHL suspended him, so that TV and newspaper could clarify and explain what he meant. Otherwise, I would still be clueless.

posted by graymatters at 02:51 PM on December 03, 2008

According to the Boston Globe, Avery was involved in a shouting match with a fan in Boston Garden earlier this season. The fan was heckling him as he left the ice, and Avery made several crude comments about the fan's female companion. The incident was reported to the league. The incident might have had some bearing on the league's decision to suspend him.

posted by Howard_T at 04:20 PM on December 03, 2008

Avery has always been an idiot. It's what he does best. Jerks like him give the NHL a bad name. It's hard enough to get attention for the league and attract new fans without braindead morons who drive fans away. Dallas deserves to rot in last for signing such a neanderthal and they should cut their losses and release him immediately. He's been a cancer in the locker room all season already. Why do they want to keep putting up with such a negative bum? He should be sent packing out of league so that he can start his fashion career and have more time to play with his dollies and women's purses. I was actually surprised to even see a weirdo like Avery linked with a female. All signs so far point to his coming out and revealing his true self once his pathetic career is over.

posted by abbeywood at 05:57 PM on December 03, 2008

Good column, fraze. Well written, and on point.

posted by tommybiden at 06:38 PM on December 03, 2008

Herein lies the sad nature of American journalism, indeed. This nonsensical drivel spewed from the mouth of an attention whoring mid-level player is splashed all over the news. Patrik Elias,an elite player (IMO), on behalf of the NHL and the New Jersey Devils heads down to Belize to spend time with the extremely impoverished and borderline starving population, and the only ones to cover it are the NHL network and the Devils themselves. I'm sure there are many other instances of players doing positive things for their community and the world around them, but I can't name any, because nobody reports those things (I know I could research it, but that's kind of my point.)

But what do you expect from the same people who gave us Paris Hilton, Sanjaya, and Britney's crotch? And you're right Fraze, we get it because we eat it up like pigs on garbage. Take away the market, and they'll take away the platform. Sadly, I just don't see it happening any time soon.

posted by tahoemoj at 08:47 PM on December 03, 2008

There was a short from SI recently that covered an on-ice conversation between Mike Modano and Marc Savard as they were lining up for a face off. Savard said to Modano that it is a shame he (Modano) will be retiring after playing a year with those goons (Avery/Ott).

Thanks for the column Fraze, but didn't we just jump Corey's bones for self-linking? I'd be glad to post it for ya, you hoser.

And I agree with almost everything you said, except the "character" issue. I do think the teams need that "character" player. Just not Avery's definition of it. I'll take a Sutter (you pick) or Bobby Bassen or a Wendell Clark any day for that role. But the Averys, Simons, and now Roy's (again, you pick) don't belong in the NHL.

posted by BoKnows at 09:26 PM on December 03, 2008

There used to be a way to post a column here, Bo. For some reason, it's not here any longer. Since I can't do that, I linked to my blog. I do the same for The Hoser's picks.

posted by wfrazerjr at 09:57 PM on December 03, 2008

The column page will be coming back.

posted by rcade at 07:14 AM on December 04, 2008

Six games. That'll stop 'em!

Christ, what a joke.

posted by wfrazerjr at 09:32 PM on December 05, 2008

Six day suspension for making a crude comment about his ex.

Meanwhile, boarding somebody head first and causing them to be injured for months? That's three.

Way to prioritize, NHL!

posted by mkn at 12:57 PM on December 06, 2008

I can't believe people are still making this argument.

Boarding takes place in the context of the game. It's stupid and dangerous, but it's also extremely difficult to judge intent. Suspensions should definitely be longer in obvious cases.

Avery deliberately sought out the media and used his position as a hockey player in an attempt to settle some kind of stupid personal score he has with his ex. The league can not be used in that fashion and should have simply told him to take a permanent walk.

posted by wfrazerjr at 04:07 PM on December 06, 2008

It may only be 6 games, but I haven't read much positive from the Stars organization. He may not have a job in Dallas any longer. Who will pick him up, I wonder? If it starts with a Ph and ends in a ly, I know we'll have some busy hockey threads on Spofi.

posted by BoKnows at 05:16 PM on December 06, 2008

We chewed this over at the store yesterday and came up with this:

The Stars don't release him. They make an agreement with some ECHL club and assign Avery there -- as the emergency goalie.

Here are your pads and your mask, Sean. You'll be riding the bus and facing shots for the next three seasons. Have fun relearning the trade -- and learning to shut the fuck up.

posted by wfrazerjr at 10:40 AM on December 07, 2008

Why do I have the feeling Avery will be making the rounds on "celebrity" style reality shows in the future?

posted by BoKnows at 04:16 PM on December 07, 2008

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