Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Avery Rules

I just wanted to come out and say, even though I’m a Ranger fan, I find what Sean Avery did on Sunday night against the Devils unbelievable and in poor taste. I clearly think the “correct” option would be to kick Avery out of the league because of this thoughtless and rude act.

Brodeur was perfectly justified in his shots to Avery’s groin with the stick, and to Avery’s face with his glove. I would have done the same thing. Brodeur, after all, is a perfect example of class. He never over exaggerates (thus is never unsportsmanlike). He takes tiny bumps like a man. Why Avery decided to treat Martin Brodeur, one of the most respected goaltenders in the league, with such disrespect, I will never understand.

The Devils in general, have led the way in class with this series in particular. Parise and Langenbrunner didn’t throw their sticks in the hallway out of anger over an icing call (which, sarcasm aside, was clearly a wrong call). Madden didn’t follow the refs, screaming his brains out. There isn’t a recorded clip of a Devil yelling to Ryan Callahan “You’re a F---ing B----,” that was shown on the VS telecast. Lundqvist hasn’t received snow shower after snow shower. That’s why I feel so bad for Marty. Avery won’t leave him alone, but no one is crashing Lundqvist’s net.

That was clearly the most embarrassing thing that could have happened to the NHL. Chris Simon’s hit on Ryan Hollweg doesn’t hold a candle to what Avery displayed on that 5-on-3. It was clearly childish and immature.

In hockey, there are some unwritten rules that everyone in the league, besides Sean Avery, follow. This is because hockey players are held in such high regard for their class, on and off the ice. Hockey players don’t throw late checks. They don’t board or charge opposing players. They never –ever- lead with their elbows. Hockey players NEVER use their stick or their skates as a weapon. I have personally never seen a hockey player take a cheap shot and go for the knees. Hockey players may fight, but they fight gracefully. No one ever sucker punches. There is no history of players jumping into stands, fighting fans. This doesn’t exist in this perfect hockey world.

This is the thing I hate about Sean Avery, and the reason I wish he was off my team even though he happens to lead the team in postseason goals. Avery doesn’t go for knees. He doesn’t lead with his elbows. He isn’t called for boarding (any more often than the next guy). He does it with his mouth. His facial expressions. He waves his stick.

I applaud the NHL for taking immediate action. Clearly, this is so important this needed to be taken care of right away, regardless of the fact that we’re in the middle of a playoff series, and that this is probably just an isolated incident. Thank God the NHL had the audacity to change the rules half way through a playoff run. Otherwise, we’d have to deal with Sean Avery screening a goaltender while facing him and waving his stick in his face, for at least another three games. ::shudder:: The horror!!!

Mark Recchi said he wouldn’t do what Avery did, even to win game seven of the Stanley Cup Finals. I know the great hockey men in the hall would agree. Mark Messier and Scott Stevens come to mind. They wanted to win, but they wouldn’t do ANYTHING to win. Very clean players, those two. Eric Lindros would vouch for it.

I know changing rules in the middle of a playoff series probably could get some people annoyed, and they would say the proper way to go about this would be to wait until the off season, and then discuss this with the board of governors and the Player’s Association. But this needed action, and it needed action immediately. And we all thought Bertuzzi and Simon were the disgraces to the league! I would add Pronger, but he doesn’t MEAN to step on people on purpose. No real talented defensemen would do that.

The moral here is that Sean Avery is a bad man. He is the most overrated despite his team-leading three goals! and hated despite not playing to hurt like some other players do player in the league, with good reason. Kick Sean Avery out of the league and return this mid-season rule-changing league to dignity!

Argue with me all you want. Sean Avery deserves his own rule for facing a goalie to screen him. Plus, I really like the new rule. I don’t think you should be able to screen a goalie if you’re not trying to make a play even though Hockey 101 teaches children to screen the goaltender. In fact, let’s take screening out all together.

I can’t wait until someone gets called for this new penalty! And we all know who it will be because the rule is made especially and only for him, and if someone else actually gets called for it, I'll be floored.

Thank you, Canadian media, for again blowing everything out of proportion. And thank you, NHL. America will respect you even more than they already do read: they don't for your random rule changing and overreacting to what is probably an isolated incident.


Shan said...

If Avery managed to do something so annoying that the NHL needed to make a rule to address him and you had to write upwards of 7 paragraphs, I'm sure he's delighted.

Pookie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pookie said...

Kerri, allow me to make one small correction to your argument. What you're referring to isn't a new rule. The refs told Avery, the Rangers, and the Devils during the game that they would call it a penalty if it happened again. Why? Because there is already a rule on the books that addresses unsportsmanlike conduct. What the league issued after the game was a statement clarifying that they agree that what Avery did was conduct that falls within the outlines of the pre-existing rule. That statement from the league in no way, shape, or form represents a new rule being added to the rule book.

Lucky13 said...

But Pookie, if that was the case, then it should have been called on the spot. Unsportsmanlike conduct is a general term, and if the refs couldn't identify it while it was happening (not surprising since they also didn't recognize Brodeur's responses to Avery's actions), then shame on them and kudos to Avery for finding the loophole and making the refs and the opposing goalie look foolish. Many think it's Avery who looked like the fool, but who scored the goal seconds later???

Dare said...

Avery did look like a fool. He scored a goal on a 5-on-3...it's not like he walked on water or invented the wheel or something. I mean, yay, good for him for getting the goal, but I don't think his previous actions had anything to do with being able to shovel that puck home.

You will often get a warning before the refs call you for unsportsmanlike conduct ("if you don't stop doing 'x', I'm going to call you"). This is done to make it evident to the player that what they are doing is not acceptable, and then puts the ball in their court as to whether they will continue doing it and get the penalty that they have now been informed is coming. While I would have loved to see Avery get 10 for inciting on that play, I don't think the refs called it wrong - they warned him, play went on. The league just went out of their way to ensure that it's made perfectly clear that that particular play does indeed fall under "unsportsmanlike conduct" in the rule book.

Pookie said...

Thank you, Dare!

But Pookie, if that was the case,

If that was the case? This discussion has a lot of subjective viewpoints (Marty is a whiner, Avery is an ass) but there is one undeniable fact: there are no more rules in the rulebook today than there were before Game 3. Ergo, no new rules were added.

Many think it's Avery who looked like the fool, but who scored the goal seconds later???

And who won the game? :P (Seriously, this is a great series, and may the best team win!)

CapsChick said...

I just loved the reactions from some of my guys, as reported by one of our beat writers/bloggers:

Bruce Boudreau said he actually asked players to do something similar a couple of years ago when he was coaching the Bears.

"I thought it would be a great way to [make them] defend and to score goals 5-on-3," Boudreau said, "I wanted to put a guy to do that, but no one had the, the [long pause] to do it. And Avery did it. There was never a rule there. Any loophole anybody finds, they're going to try to do it. I don't think it was morally right, but he did and got away with it."

Matt Cooke: "Yeah I saw it. He's got everyone talking about him, which is what he wants. You guys are all pawns in the chess game, and that's all I'll say about that."

Chris Clark said he felt "the same." When told "the same" doesn't play well in the newspaper he said, "Yeah, I know. You've got to creatively write same."

Kerri said...

Can I start with this post was mostly a joke and not to be taken (too) seriously?

You're so right Pookie, there wasn't a new rule implemented. If that's what I said, I'm sorry; the rule was just reinterpreted. The unsportsmanlike conduct rule leaves room for ref interpretation. It was completely and 100% fair for the refs to tell the Rangers and the Devils during the game that it was not to happen again.

My problem comes in with this new interpretation because it was issued as an additional rule. If the league wanted to make it clear to the refs and to Avery that this behavior would not be tolerated, I would be OK with that (although I do think the whole thing isn't much of a big deal. If it was THAT disrespectful, then please just give him a penalty and move on.)

The worst is higher morality of the media. Like hockey is, and let me quote our backup goaltender "a gentlemen's game" but he followed that up with if he was Brodeur, Avery would have been missing teeth. Yeah, some gentlemen's game.

There are cries to throw Avery out of the league for this. Explusion? Are these people serious? Have they EVER watched a hockey game?

I personally find Brodeur a whiner AND Avery an ass. It is what it is. Avery looked like a fool- but he scored, and it wasn't against the rulebook (until Monday). Might as well have added a rule in that case, IMO. Same deal.

Long comment. Like a second post. I <3 this series. I also hate it. I don't think there is a best team... so it shall be interesting to see who wins.

Kerri said...

Oh, Shan, Avery is in his glory, lol.

CapsChick said...

Kerri, I have to agree with you on this one - the fact that such a rule already exists tells me that they should have just called the damn penalty and been done with it. I don't remember refs ever giving guys warnings about tripping or high-sticking or whatever - why was this an exception? Warnings are for goalies freezing the puck too early or guys cheating in the faceoff circle...not for penalties.

And because of this we have a NEW rule that restates the OLD rule and makes the assumption that someone will try this again. Since no one has before and Avery isn't likely to repeat it (he doesn't seem like the kind of guy to use the same material twice) the new rule just seems like overkill.

By the way I was laughing throughout this entire post, once I figured out you were kidding ;)

Pookie said...

I don't remember refs ever giving guys warnings about tripping or high-sticking or whatever - why was this an exception?

Because this was Unsportsmanlike Conduct, i.e. a penalty that often warrants a warning from a referee before it gets called.

Kerri said...

If you ask me, it should almost AWAYS warrant a warning. And Avery was given the warning. Isn't that the point? The refs thought it was over "the line," whatever unwritten line that might be. So give him the penalty, then. But now there IS a written line, as if an addition to the previous rule. No, it's not in the rulebook, but it might as well be.

Sound like a "new rule" to me.

And yes, it's overkill, and that's the point. Avery's the scapegoat of the league, and that pisses me off. Fine, you all hate him, I get it. I'd hate him, too, I'm sure, if he was on one of your teams. But you'd love him, and you'd appreciate what he brings. Overrated? NHL, Avery is your most underrated.

Dare said...

But it's not an unwritten line, it's in the rulebook. It's not a new rule, they've just explicitly stated that facing the goalie and waving your stick in his face is worthy of a penalty.

There were already...14 subsections to the unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. In pretty much every case listed, the referees will still give you a warning before actually giving you unsportsmanlike. So really, nothing is new...they've just made it clear to Avery and everyone else that if it happens again, it's perfectly reasonable to get a penalty for it (whereas before, Avery could have argued that, while his behaviour is unsportsmanlike, it's not explicitly banned by the rules).

*shrugs* Just my $0.02.

Pookie said...

But you'd love him, and you'd appreciate what he brings.

I'd appreciate it if you would speak for yourself here. I would not love him nor would I appreciate what he brings to the team. I've never liked that style of play. Not when Claude Lemiuex did it, not when Cam Janssen did it, not when Clarkson and Asham try to do it. So, no, I would not love Sean Avery if he were a Devil, and I would not hate him any less if he were on any team other than the Rangers. I appreciate, though, that some people do love superpests; that's what makes a horse race.

And thank you again, Dare, for backing me up on the fact that there is no new rule added to the rule book! GAH!

Kerri said...

Again, you're right when you say no new rule is added to the rulebook. But the "new clarification" of the rule is a written statement which might as well be a new rule to itself, IMO. We can agree to disagree. But Sunday it wasn't called, at ref's discretion. They COULD, and maybe SHOULD have called Unsportsmenlike. From Monday on, it will be called. It has been given an addition definition. Ok, so it's not literally in the rulebook- but it might as well be. Again, my opinion.

I shouldn't have spoke for every hockey fan in the planet; I apoligize for that. But I'm sure there would be a hell of a lot less Avery hate from Caps fans if he played for the Capitals, or from Ducks fans if he was a Duck. It's not as if Ranger fans are insane for thinking Avery comes with value, which many hockey fans seem to argue. It's just like some people don't like fighters or what fighting brings to the game. To each his own. And while everyone might not appreciate Avery on their team... more people than not would.

But then what is a definition of an agitator? Tell me Scott Stevens wasn't an agitator though, and I'll argue that until I die. Again, I'd argue the same for Ken Daneyko. And not to pick on the Devils, Mark Messier. Maybe it's a line they do or do not cross. I'm not sure. I prefer agitation to cheap shots anyday, though. And I'd call out Messier or Stevens as a cheap shot artist before I would Avery.

We can agree to disagree. But just because it's not etched into a rulebook, doesn't make it not a rule adjustment in the middle of a playoff series.

Dare said...

And I'd call out Messier or Stevens as a cheap shot artist before I would Avery.

Have you seen the one where he spears buddy in the nuts? (I googled "Sean Avery douche" yesterday and a post with it came up).

Sorry, I've been waiting for a chance to bring that post up. :)

Kerri said...

Kinda of like Brodeur, jabbing at Avery in the nuts on Sunday? lol

Let me clarify my statement, which I should have done. Avery, since coming to the Rangers, has not has a history of being a cheapshot artist. He does his occasional dive- no more than Sidney Crosby- but is otherwise just a chatterbox.

Avery from the Kings DID spear Brendan Witt, which I remember quite clearly because 1. I watched that game and 2. the media made a stink about it when Avery was traded to the Rangers.

Avery is a point blank 1st class a-hole. I don't know if it has been the guidance of his pal Shanahan, or just growing up in general, but Avery has not been the jerk to his teammates nor the cheapshot artist he was in the past. At least, he has yet to try and knee or elbow somebody, rarely gets called for boarding or spearing, and has yet to use racial slurs or punch his coach. :-P For Avery, he's been quite clean. (And for the record, if he reverts to it, my support for him goes, which I have made very clear since the Rangers traded for him.)

Tracy said...

I'm glad you clarified that as "since coming to the Rangers" because when he was a King, I don't remember playing a game against him where he didn't take some sort of cheap shot at Doaner (at least).

I find him irritating but what he did is really no more or less irksome than he's been doing for years. Brodeur just got the full force of Asshat Avery.