Whether or not you like or dislike Sean Avery here isn't the issue. The question is if his "sloppy seconds" comment warranted a yet-to-be decided suspension which in turn took away any heat from the Calgary-Dallas tilt tonight as Tapeleg points out.
You can say that the product should be able to market itself, but sometimes that can't be your only tool. Sometimes you need a little controversy to intrigue the casual fan and even the hardcore fan at times. With six games on tonight, fans had their choice of what games to watch or flip through. You keep Sean Avery in that game and more eyes will be on him and Dion Phaneuf, regardless of a Thrashers comeback in Montreal or a back and forth tilt in Philadelphia.
As much as the league doesn't want Avery to be in the headlines, suspending him for immature comments only makes him to be even more of a villain. In the past he's been hated by just about every fan who doesn't support the jersey he wears. In this case he's going to find himself with a lot more supporters than usual.
The suspension that is eventually doled out will be interesting. Dallas plays Wednesday night so Avery will sit at least one game and to me, if he's out for more (the Stars play Friday and then next Wednesday), the NHL needs to get it's priorities straight. With the amount of debatable head shots in the news during the first two months of the season, a careless comment which is deemed "detrimental to the League or game of hockey" is not more serious than a guy with a scrambled brain.
Wyshynski put it perfectly tonight:
"We know this because Ian White of the Toronto Maple Leafs wasn't suspended after telling the media that Ilya Kovalchuk will "get what's coming to him" the next time they meet.
I guess Avery's joke is more offensive than the threat of continued violence. Maybe if White has added, "And the second time, it'll get reeeeeeeeeeal sloppy."Stars owner Tom Hicks condemned the statements like he had no idea about Avery being a controversial figure when the team signed him in the off-season.
"I completely support the league's decision to suspend Sean Avery,” said Dallas Stars owner Thomas O. Hicks. “Had the league not have suspended him, the Dallas Stars would have. 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.”
This should have been a team issue, not a league issue. If you listened to some of the Dallas Stars' reactions to the comments, you could tell they were almost ashamed to be talking about Avery.
Is it crazy to think that Dallas might take matters into their own hands and extend any suspension laid down by the NHL?
UPDATE: Avery has apologized through a statement:
"I would like to sincerely apologize for my off-color remarks to the press yesterday from Calgary," Avery said. "I should not have made those comments and I recognize that they were inappropriate. It was a bad attempt to build excitement for the game, but I am now acutely aware of how hurtful my actions were. I caused unnecessary embarrassment to my peers as well as people I have been close with in the past.
"I apologize for offending the great fans of the NHL, the commissioner, my teammates, my coaching staff and the Dallas Stars management and ownership. As many of you know, I like to mix it up on and off the ice from time to time, but understand that this time I took it too far."