So, You Hate Sean Avery?

2904720177_0667859e17Sean Avery, the league’s super pest. He makes his living by getting under the skin of his opponents. You either love him or hate him and you only love him if he is on your favorite team, and sometimes that is not even the case. The hatred felt by the league and fans towards him is so intense that many people feel he should be banished from the sport entirely. There are some that don’t even know who he is yet hate him anyway because it has become fashionable. But what exactly has Sean Avery done to deserve this? In this article, we will examine why he is hated so much and why the National Hockey League is a joke for allowing and condoning the bias to take place when so many other “unclean” players have been allowed to suit in in this sport.

Marty McSorely

The first player in league history to receive a suspension of more then twenty games when he was given twenty three games for his stick swinging incident on Donald Brashear. After being roughed up by him earlier in the game, McSorely proceeded to follow Brashear around on the ice before swinging his stick at his head. Brashear then felt to the ice and smacked his head causing him to suffer a concussion. This is surely one of the most classless acts in hockey and probably the third most brutal attack on a player in league history. He was not only suspended but charged and convicted of assault with a deadly weapon and served eighteen months probation. When his sentence was complete he was allowed back in to professional hockey without repercussions, although never suiting up in an NHL game ever again.

Chris Simon

The second most brutal act in hockey history occurred when Chris Simon, then of the Islanders swung his stick at the throat of the Rangers’ Ryan Hollweg after being checked. The stick missed and only caught Hollweg in the chin, resulting in a minor injury and some stitches, but what if he had made contact just a couple inches below? Serious injury, possibly even life threatening could have been a result. Simon would then go on to be suspended for a league record twenty five games and is fined before being welcomed back with open arms by the league after serving his sentence. But just a few short months later, Simon would commit yet another brutal act. As the Penguins’ Jaarko Ruutu lay on the ice, Simon viciously stomped on his leg with his razor-sharp skate and then skated over to the bench and sat down like nothing happened. He is suspended even longer then his previous one for this, another league record of thirty games. To show how much of a joke the league is, he is allowed to come back yet again, where he is traded to the Minnesota Wild before finishing his career there shortly after.

Todd Bertuzzi

In March of 2004 the league was stunned and appalled when Todd Bertuzzi committed the most atrocious act ever to occur on the ice. A game prior  to the incident, Avalanche forward Steve Moore checked Bertuzzi’s teammate Markus Naslund, giving him a concussion. In the post game, Bertuzzi came out and said that there would be “a price on Moore’s head” and just a few days later when the two teams met again, Bertuzzi acted on his threat. Moore hit the ice for a shift late in the game and Bertuzzi chased him around the rink until he got to open ice where he proceeded to roundhouse punch Moore on the side of the head and then jump on his back, slamming his head into the ice, cracking three vertebrae in his neck and ending the career of a young, up and coming player.

Thankfully the Steve Moore saga is over but questions will always remain. (File Photo)

Bertuzzi could have been charged with assault and battery but ended up settling a lawsuit with the Moore family. Bertuzzi would go on to be suspended for only twenty games, fined, and suspended from any international play during the lockout; a mere slap on the wrist if you ask me. Then, a year later, instead of being in prison, Bertuzzi is continuing his career in the NHL. He has since played for several teams, most recently this season with the Calgary Flames where he collects a paycheck while Steve Moore sits in a wheelchair, watching the sport he loves on television, rather then playing his childhood dream sport for real. Is Todd Bertuzzi the league’s whipping boy? Is he a target for the referees every time he steps onto the ice? Is he booed unmercifully in every arena that he visits? The answer is no to all three. Still think that Sean Avery is the biggest disgrace in the NHL?

Sean Avery

Number sixteen first gained negative notoriety while playing for the Los Angeles Kings. In practice he apparently ticked off head coach Andy Murray so much that he was made to do pushups right there in front of everyone. Avery celebrated by scoring a goal in the next game and doing three pushups in his goal celebration. This would further annoy his team. After wearing out his welcome he would be traded to the New York Rangers where he would stay relatively calm until he shoved Devils’ goalie Martin Brodeur after being shoved by him himself. In the next season’s playoffs, he would cause the league to go into panic mode when he screened the same Brodeur in a way that was so creative that it just had to be illegal. He turned his body towards Brodeur and waved his arms in his face trying to block his vision, but not once ever coming into physical contact with him. The next day the league changed the rules so it wasn’t allowed anymore. Next in the saga, Avery signs with the Dallas Stars where he supposedly pisses off his teammates so much that fans still blame him for not making the playoffs, even though he only played twenty three games. But during that short time Sean Avery did something so horrible that it ended up having him miss exactly half a season. Avery called Dion Phaneuf’s girlfriend his “sloppy seconds”. Those two words were so terrible that he was suspended indefinitely by the Stars, fined, and forced to enroll in an anger management course. He is also ridiculed by analysts and fans around the league. Those two words were so inappropriate that it couldn’t be tolerated, yet the NHL Network and TSN certainly had no trouble playing the video clip over and over again every chance they got. Now Avery plays for the Rangers again, getting a second chance from Glen Sather. He is targeted by the referees nonstop and can’t even finish a check for fear of being called. Does Avery play the game on the edge? Does he run his mouth and piss people off because of it? Does he throw a late hit every once and a while? Yes, but has he ever gone out of his way to hurt someone like the multiple examples given above? The answer to that is no.

Yet how come he is still considered to be the biggest disgrace to the league? Since when does talking too much triumph trying to kill someone? After making the “sloppy seconds” remark, Avery was banished from the league for over forty games and forced to attend anger management classes. That’s pretty ridiculous when you look at other sports and see a player like the Giants’ wide receiver Plaxico Burriss shooting himself in the thigh with an illegal hand gun and he may even be playing football next season. Also look at the other examples above, I will let the videos speak for themselves. I’m not trying to say that Sean Avery is the classiest guy in hockey and should be nominated for the Lady Byng award, because that isn’t the case. But I think it is time for people to take the blinders off and see who really are the biggest disgraces in the National Hockey League.

9 thoughts on “So, You Hate Sean Avery?”

  1. McSorely, Simon, and Bertuzzi all did some horrible stuff, and I agree that each of those instances are worse than anything Avery has done. I still boo Bertuzzi whenever I see him on the screen. When I feel like maybe I’m overreacting or holding a grudge against that one player, I’ll rewatch the video. Completely unacceptable. His measley suspension was a joke and he should be out of the game for good. I’ll bet Steve Moore wishes he could have returned to hockey at all, let alone after 20 games. The NHL has a record of giving far-too-tiny suspensions for outrageous behavior.

    Still, those examples don’t excuse Avery from his actions. But don’t get me wrong: I don’t think Avery should be kicked out of the game indefinitely. I just hate goons, and he’s one of the biggest. Luckily for him, he has some skill to back it up.

    In response to Mike above: Eddie Shore’s hit was bad and it was the worst *outcome* of an undisciplined player being an idiot. But as for the act itself, Bertuzzi’s was the worst. Shore didn’t ride on top of Bailey down the ice, punching his unconscious head.

    I do get tired of people referring to his incident with Brodeur as “creative”. It’s not creative at all — most every player in front of a goalie has thought of it. What it IS is poor sportsmanship. Holding your stick up at the goalie’s eye level while screening and watching the puck is one thing. Ignoring the rest of the play and facing toward the goalie is completely different. If you have a modicum of hockey skills like Avery does, try playing hockey instead of playing goon. Waving your stick around like that is a tactic for someone who doesn’t know what to do with a hockey stick.

    Don’t forget that, though the refs may keep a close eye on Avery, it’s for good reason. If you let the chain out too far on a dog like that, something bad will happen. Avery makes a lot of money on his fame. But to be realistic, Avery goes out of his way to earn a lot of those penalty minutes.

    The thing about Avery is that he’s not simply a “pest”…he defines “unsportsmanlike”. What an embarassment.

  2. I’m a NY Rangers fan. I was happy when they brought Avery back considering how well he played during his first stint on Broadway. I think the Rangers were nearly 20 games above .500 with Avery in the lineup and close to .500 without him.

    He did throw an elbow in this Washington series that was pathetic but too his credit the officials are not on his side. He’s become the Dennis Rodman of hockey. Players are allowed to him him late, bump him without the puck and if he does the same he sits for 2 minutes.

    I don’t want him back on Broadway but as you said, Bertuzzi is in the league after ending a guys career. Avery stated the truth and is now the league’s villain. Completely unfair.

  3. Be careful in saying Todd Bertuzzi’s act was the most atrocious to ever occur on the ice. Eddie Shore’s hit on Ace Bailey left Bailey’s life in limbo for 2 weeks, and ended his career. It spawned the first ever All-Star game. That IS the most atrocious hit ever in the National Hockey League.

  4. I’m no fan of Bertuzzi, nor am I defending what he did in any way, but Moore isn’t in a wheelchair. He broke three verterbrae and cut short an NHL comeback because of post-concussion syndromes, but he’s not paralyzed.

    As for Avery, the problem with him is he goes out of his way to be an ass, whether it’s calling opposing fans names, showing up his coach, throwing cheapshots (hello, Tim Thomas), making fun of people with cancer and generally being a pain in the ass to everyone. The fact that he called the cameras over to spout his sloppy seconds comment made the NHL’s blood boil. Combine that with his already lengthy list of transgressions and it’s easy to see why the league wanted him to go away for awhile.

  5. Love him or hate him, he showed last night what he’s capable of doing when he sets his mind on playing hockey instead of jacking the sack. He’s probably one of the best cycle players in the league when he wants to be.

  6. Wow, I don’t follow his career a lot, so I hadn’t seen the push-up video until now lol

    Personally, I agree with you on the point of the NHL has put up with a lot more from some pretty shady characters in the past and just looked the other way. I’m not saying he’s my favorite guy in the world, but you’re right, he’s never physically attacked someone, he just likes to rattle people’s nerves.

    That being said, I do think that there’s a point where you’ve got to know when to pull it in and just play the game. And you’d think that being made an example of more than once would sink that in for him, but he is who he is.

    At least no one will ever be able to say the game changed him, he’s changed the game lol

  7. Very well put, interesting perspective. To be fair, I think Avery was only suspended for 6 games following his remarks. He was released from the Stars more for a mounting pile of grievances, locker room issues and the such, and no one wanted to pick him up until the Rangers did. But still, he’s been annoying at times, not always the smartest decisions, but he has been far from violently aggressive or a cheap shot artist. It’s a different kind of “hate” I guess, lol.

    It’s just frustrating because when he shuts up and plays, he’s a solid player. The Rangers goal last night came purely because of Avery’s tough effort in the corner.

  8. Very true. Although i don’t think you either love him or hate him. I am a penguins fan and i am pretty neutral to him, i don’t really pay much attention to him. I also hate like you mentioned how he is targeted by the refs while others get away with it.

    I made a blog on another site a couple months ago, similar to this defending Avery. I made the points that he has never purposely injured someone and that he is looked at worse than guys like Plaxico, Vick, Bertuzzi ( it is a disgrace he is still playing) and all those steroid using ball players. I know it sucks, but he will always be looked at badly no matter what he does.

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