Look. I may very well deserve an I-Told-You-So because I honestly thought Sean Avery would be an asset to Dallas. So far, I've been wrong. The team I actually thought would contend for the Pacific Division is in shambles. An embarassment right now. But how much of that is really Sean, I'm not completely sure.
Anyway, I'm not writing this blog entry to defend Sean. He knows that saying what he said this morning would stir up - - something. Should he have said it? Probably not. But was it suspension worthy? You decide:
"I am really happy to be back in Calgary, I love Canada," Avery said on camera this morning in Calgary. "I just want to comment on how it's become like a common thing in the NHL for guys to fall in love with my sloppy seconds. I don't know what that's about. Enjoy the game tonight."
TSN on their website clip called it a vulgar sexual reference. I'm sorry, but I don't see how the above is really that vulgar. True, he could have said "ex-girlfriends" instead of the slang term and the point would still be the same. Crude - yes. Vulgar. . .I'm really not sure.
My overall response remains, however: Suspended? Really? For conduct defaming a fellow NHLer and the NHL itself? For exercising a freedom of speech that I'm pretty sure most people believe is a right of people living in North America? Or do those rules get checked at the Canadian border?
I know the NHL wants to - apparently feels they need to - make him the villian. But I just can't bring myself to agree with it. If the Stars didn't like what he said, they can suspend him. I actually would have less of a problem with that. Their team, their call. But the league stepping in like this just seems very unnecessary to me. How much is their right as a league and how much is them going out of their way to pull down a guy they've made it clear they hate?
Is Avery being a jack-ass for saying this? Sure. A great PR move for him? Certainly not. But it's not as if this guy is running around every night smashing guys heads into the boards trying to put guys in the hospital. To me, those are the "villians" the NHL should be concentrating on.
So seriously, I see it coming. "Avery Rule #2" - Any player who publicly makes questionably off-color remarks about his ex-girlfriend and their relationship in connection to any NHL player, current or former, will be suspended indefinitely."
And in small, block letters: "If they are from Canada and his name is Sean Avery."