Friday, December 5, 2008

Hypocrisy, thy name is Gary

I didn't plan on talking about this since everyone else has. But sometimes, you need to avoid studying for an exam somehow and writing about Sean Avery is the best option*.

6 games. Six games. SIX GAMES!?! Are you kidding me?

That's more than Kostoupolis got for his beauty on Van Ryn (3 games).
More than what Roto-Ruutu got for his introducing his elbow to Laperriere's eye ( 2 games).
In the same league of suspension time as Pronger got for stomping on Ryan Kesler's leg (8 games).

Really? Calling out Dion Phaneuf is more offensive to the esteemed Mr. Bettman than Kostoupolis potentially putting an end to the career of Van Ryn? As offensive as Chris Pronger testing the fortitude of Kesler's tibia?

The NHL so unbelievably hypocritical, it's almost shocking. Last year was trying to figure out why Chris Simon got 30 games for the same crime Pronger committed mere months later (see above).

What this debate seems to centre around is how offensive Avery is to women. The term "sloppy seconds" and his treatment of a female Nashville fan are the stories that come up.

Greg Wyshynski over at Puck Daddy explains why the term sloppy seconds isn't actually offensive, and how he wasn't insulting women as a group. For the over-veiw: the term sloppy seconds is insulting to the male involved, not the female - "dude you're only getting my sloppy seconds, don't be proud." Insulting? Yes. Would Dion Phaneuf have torn Avery limb from limb on the ice? I'm sure Elisha would have gotten in on that. Is it offensive to all women everywhere? No, Gary, it isn't.

Secondly, the treatment of the Nashville fan. Vulgar? Yes. But she attempted to start a confrontation with him, while he was in the penalty box, immediately after the fight. She admitted to harrassing him on the ice since he was an LA King. She seems to have made it her life's work to taunt and humiliate Avery, and she admits that he's noticed her before (how couldn't he - her season ticket is the seat beside the away penalty box). What this one comes down to is that this woman, for years, has been trying to get a reaction out of him, and she finally got one. When she got one, she was taken aback and was horribly offended. That's unbelievably poor, on her part, not his.

Yes, Avery is supposed to be a professional, but he's also human. As someone who is routinely found with his foot in his mouth, I can, to some degree, sympathize. I myself have said things about an ex in the heat of the moment that I regret. I have indeed reacted when people call me out during a game. Am I proud of it? No. But you move on.

Avery is the victim of his situation at Dallas. Last year, Dallas couldn't fail, all four lines were rolling and scoring, and the defense was solid. This year, Dallas' defense couldn't be shoddier (the sophomore drop, perhaps?). Marty Turco is letting everyone and their grandmother score a goal on him. The offense isn't rolling.

If Dallas was successful, no one, in that locker room or anywhere, would be overly concerned. He's irritating, but that's just Avery, pay no attention to the strange man in the short pants, children. But Dallas isn't successful, and Avery's wearing the goat's mask. Mind you, he's doing nothing to help his situation.

At any rate - he doesn't deserve 6 games from the NHL. The Dallas Stars should have been able to handle this within the organization as conduct not befitting someone in the Black and Green. They weren't given that option, and the NHL successfully turned Avery into the Dallas sideshow, and has put the Stars even further under the microscope. For the rest of the year, people will be watching and analyzing everything Dallas does as an effect of Avery. Win or lose, it will be because of Avery.

* It's a social history of popular music exam... I'm not exactly shitting bricks

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