Okay, I'm going to chime in on the Sean Avery suspension.
Maybe it was right, maybe it was wrong. John Rocker was suspended for some rather horrid remarks about New Yorkers years back and Don Imus was suspended then fired for double-dipping with racist AND sexist comments about the Rutgers women's basketball team.
When looking at it through that perspective, the NHL banning Avery certainly seems like the right decision.
At this point, let me say that Avery is, in technical terms, a "tool." He's an ape. A jerk. A buffoon. A nincompoop. Call him whatever you want, it fits the bill.
Also, his remarks were completely repulsive and so far over the line I think they crossed it twice. In no way do I support what he said. I didn't think he could get any lower on the totem pole until I heard what he said.
But here's my problem: With all the misdeeds and tribulations Avery has committed in his career, this is the first that Gary Bettman considered "detrimental to the league?" Really? It took this long?
Wasn't this the guy who wielded his stick in front of a player's face, forcing the league to immediately re-write the rulebook? Where was the suspension for that? Isn't that "detrimental to the league?"
Avery's remarks couldn't really be a surprise. The league knows what type of, well I hesitate to say person, that Avery is. And they let him, and others like him, get away with it. Well, until now.
And I'm sorry, but I found this quote from Dallas owner Tom Hicks humorous: "This organization will not tolerate such behavior, especially from a member of our hockey team. We hold our team to a higher standard and will continue to do so."
Um, excuse me, Mr. Hicks, but if you have such a high standard, then why did you sign Avery in the first place? Were you unaware that he's the most hated player in hockey, and revels in that title? You didn't think that might be a bad thing?
I don't think Avery deserves a place in the NHL and that was before his most recent comments. I won't say Avery does not deserve a suspension, but I think this is a situation caused, in part, by the league, who has done nothing at all to control types like Avery. Now it's come back to bite them and they scramble to put a band-aid over it.
Did you see Avery's face as he walked away from reporters? He knew exactly what he said and knew exactly how people would react. He was practically gloating in front of the cameras.
Hopefully the NHL is finally sick of it, and about time too. Maybe the higher-ups are learning that types like him aren't good for the game of hockey. Maybe now that they're looking out for when players cross the line off the ice, they start disciplining players for when they go too far on the ice.
That's another part of my problem. I mean, this is a game that really, it's not out of the realm of possibility that players can kill one another during a game, with a vicious whack to the head or a reckless charge from behind into the boards. In fact, at the rate the game is going, it's just a matter of time until that's what happens.
Avery's comments were horrific and merited punishment, but shouldn't the league care a little more about what's happening on the ice, not what some sideshow freak says off it?