There is a lot of disagreement in the hockey world about whether Sean Avery deserved to be suspended for his comments to the press Tuesday morning. Personally, I think he does deserve it. I understand that players say much worse than that to each other on the ice. This wasn’t on the ice.
I’m pretty tired of the “I’ve seen much worse” argument, because that doesn’t justify his stunt. I’ve seen a lot worse, too, and those should have been punished, too. Just because the NFL coddles criminals, doesn’t mean the NHL has to stand aside and let a player act like Avery does. The fact that Plaxico should be in jail but isn’t, doesn’t mean Avery doesn’t deserve to be suspended a couple of games.
I don’t think he should get much more than “time served” from the League, but I think that two or three games is completely justified.
I’m through arguing now (or reading opposing arguments on Puck Daddy and Heika’s blog and elsewhere). I’m not changing my mind and they’re not changing theirs. The important thing is that he has turned a bad spotlight onto the Dallas Stars organization and we don’t like it.
I knew, when the rumors started that Brett Hull might bring Avery here, that it would not go well. But never in my wildest dreams did I think things would go so bad with him so soon.
We’re finding out how hard the players have had to work to keep their feelings about him to themselves. How hard they have worked to try to integrate him into the team. How completely uninterested he was in being part of it.
Here are some quotes from Dave Tippett:
“I’m trying to build a team where the players care about each other, that has continuity,” Tippett said in Edmonton. “I find it hard to believe that Sean could come back in the room and we would have that continuity.
“My job is to build the best team possible,” he said. “I don’t know if we can build the best team possible with Sean in the room.”
Tippett was justifiably infuriated, because he talked to Avery earlier that morning and asked him if he planned to talk to the media and Avery said he wasn’t. So Tippett defended him to the press. Then 10 minutes later, Avery said to his teammates, “Watch this, boys,” and then set the place on fire.
“We hope it’s the last time we ever see him,” says one veteran.
“Our locker room is the happiest it has been all year right now,” says another player.
“He’s been undermining everything we do,” says the veteran. “He doesn’t pay attention; he’s not smart enough to play our system. He can’t do some drills properly. He says it’s because he’s ‘independent.’
Really, he’s just not smart enough.”
They’ve been suffering his act since training camp and before. Not just since Tuesday.
Dallas forward Brad Richards did go on record, but chose not to add fuel to the fire. Still, his feelings are clear.
“We don’t want to talk about him anymore. Hopefully, it will be handled and that will be the end of it.”
Brad has been “hanging out” with Sean since they’re both new in town and single and they live in the same building, so he’s trying not to say anything bad about him.
Sean Avery wants this kind of stuff. He enjoys having everybody talk about him. He has cultivated this kind of opinion of him, carefully, over the years. Nobody, especially Avery, should be surprised that nobody has his back.
If he were a good teammate and/or a good player, he might have a couple of people on the team defending him, maybe even the coach. The fact that the Stars are taking this opportunity to get rid of him any way they can, two months into a FOUR-YEAR contract, is his fault. He has spent years getting to this point. It’s not just about those few seconds on TV now. That was just a raindrop that was added to the flood.
Have fun in the minors, jerk.