Are you kidding me? Here’s what Sean Avery said that got him suspended today:
“I am really happy to be back in Calgary, I love Canada. 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.”
Look, it’s clear I have a man crush on Avery. Ever since I drove him to the photo shoot (by Elizabeth Lavin) for the profile we ran on him in the November issue of the “print product,” I’ve had a soft spot for him in my heart (and a more turgid spot for him elsewhere). But what he did was nothing but good ol’ fashioned pre-game trash talking. I mean, this is hockey, right? We’re not talking about cricket. Which makes Thomas O. Hicks’ comments even worse:
“I completely support the league’s decision to suspend Sean Avery. Had the league not have suspended him, the Dallas Stars would have.”
Maybe the league feels it has a reputation to protect. But Avery was signed explicitly because he says and does stuff like this. Hicks and Stars management should have come out and said, “Sean Avery sure does say the nuttiest things. We’re still Googling the Internet to figure out what ‘sloppy seconds’ are. Meantime, we’re appealing the suspension.”
Update: here’s co-GM Brett Hull in our November profile on why they signed Avery. The writer, Curt Sampson, poses the question: [W]e assume you’ll ask Avery to throttle back a little? “Absolutely not!” Hull says. “That’s exactly what we want! He’s got a fiery personality and he makes plays. He’ll add electricity. He’s gonna ruffle some feathers. We need to add some spice to what we have. Our core of Marty [Turco] and Mike [Modano] and Brenden — these guys are all great — but we need more bite.”
Hull was speaking primarily about on-ice conduct. But what you get there and what you get in front of the cameras before the game (“bite”) — it’s one in the same.