Okay... Having watched the Sabres play against Sean Avery's multiple teams numerous times, and then seeing his antics with many players throughout the league, especially those with Martin Brodeur, I can honestly say that he is one of the few players in the league that I have no respect for.
Having said that, his "method" of antagonizing other players, and thereby teams, is definitely affective. (The Good)
I don't agree with whatever he does, because he doesn't leave it on the ice. I stand by the principle in hockey of "leaving it on the ice." Don't bring an argument with other players into their personal life, or vice versa. Leave it on the ice. If you've got a problem with another player, drop the gloves with him. Don't take shots at his girlfriend in the press.
That being said, I'm not entirely sure that I think a hearing should be held for Avery, or that he should miss more games, other than last night's. I feel slapping him with a hefty fine for violating a code of conduct would suffice. Because a suspension, and the attention, is exactly what Sean wants. He wants to know that he's getting under the skin of everyone in the NHL--the players, the coaches, the owners, the commissioner, etc. And by suspending him, and holding a hearing, he's getting everything that he wanted. He asked for that, and the NHL is merely appeasing him, whether they realize it or not. (The Bad)
(And now, the Ugly)
Usually, when a player gets in a fight, or has words with another, their teammates will back them up. That's the case with your Matt Barnaby's, Michael Peca's, etc.
But it speaks volumes about Avery when the guys he shares a locker room with are disgusted by his antics.
Brad Richards, Marty Turco, and the like all said, basically, that they're unimpressed, disappointed, yet not shocked about anything said yesterday.
Dave Tippett, coach of the Stars, had this to say:
"I think everyone in our room believes there is an integrity that has to go along with the game, respect for the game and respect for your opponents and Sean crossed that line.
"I think the words, the words and disrespect for an opponent like that is something ... there's lots of trash talking that goes on on the ice. But then to announce something like that for everybody to hear, to me that crosses the line and the League -- and our ownership felt that, too.
"Sean crossed that line. He won't continue with us on the trip. We've always professed that there is nobody that's ever bigger than our group or bigger than the team.
"Sean said something that just doesn't paint our organization in a good light, and appropriate steps are being taken."
I think Barnaby said it best: "As a former player, I don't agree with the suspension. Trust me, I said a lot of nasty things to a lot of different players but everything stayed on the ice. Bringing it out in the media is classless and stupid.
"I've played in that organization and it is a class organization. I think he's played his last game as a Dallas Star."
I, for one, will not be upset in the least bit if those sentiments hold true.
Behind the Mask: Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen
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