All through this media frenzy I’ve heard just about every possible view on dear old Sean’s comments from indifference, to foaming at the mouth. And I know you all have heard and read enough about it, but please, humor me for just a little while.
I know many people think the indefinite suspension seems over the top and just plain ridiculous, but I agree with what the league did, not just because I hate Sean Avery with every fiber of my hockey-loving being, but because for the sport of hockey, it is the right thing to do for many reasons. I have always enjoyed the fact that hockey has been much more of a “cult” following rather than mainstream time waster like so many other sports. This difference, in my opinion, allows for the “normal” rules we play by in society to be a bit different. Normally, what Avery would have said could be considered just plain free speech, but not in hockey. To be an NHL star, you have to be at least somewhat okay with letting things go that have nothing to do with your job, and to be a Dallas Star, you have to be the among the classiest men in the league. I love the fact that hockey players, besides Avery and a select few other goons, are some of the kindest and warmest people you could ever meet! I know that the guys have mouths just about as dirty as the worst truck stop bathroom you can find, but that should never be brought off the ice, and the players know that. It is just a different world. Verbally attacking someone’s family or significant other is not acceptable behavior for any hockey player, much less a Dallas Star. We live in a world where it is commonplace to hear people shoot off rude and hurtful comments almost daily. Yes, yes…we all know doing those things are wrong and not good to do, but we are all so indifferent to foul language that we just tell one another to “put on the big boy (or girl) pants” and deal with it when someone hurts our feelings. In that way, it does seem silly to punish someone for a comment no more than what we hear in our society in general, but this isn’t normal society. It’s hockey, and hockey is a different world. Hockey shouldn’t have to deal with guys like Avery that stretch limits in ways that hurt the image of the sport any more than the lovely people that embarrass the true fans of hockey and only watch the fights.
On a side note, I do think that the suspension was at least effective in avoiding a Moore incident. I’m not saying I at all feared for Avery’s safety – far from it! I wouldn’t have cared less if he was obliterated in the game or not. My only concerns would be for the safety of any of the other Stars that would have protected Avery simply because he was their teammate and for any of the Flames doing something they would regret had Avery been seriously injured. (And I’m not saying the Phaneuf would have done anything, but if he did…)
And if Avery ends up out of the league or at least away from Dallas, GOOD RIDDANCE!