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Should Avery be banned?

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

Another Friday means another THN mailbag. As always, thanks to all who submitted questions – and don’t forget to check out the Ask Adam features in our magazine and on The Hockey News Radio Show every Friday.

Hey Adam, do you think Sean Avery should still be in the NHL after all those bad penalties and suspensions he has gotten over the past few years? And what do you think about his two-handed slash to the ankles of Mike Komisarek? Should he get five games for it?

Kyle Sexton, Torbay, Nfld.

Hey Kyle,

Avery is a breed apart: this is a guy who got ran from behind at an Ontario League All-Star Game – I repeat, at an All-Star Game – and nobody came to visit him in the hospital afterward. He has cultivated his toxic persona for years and is very good at being very bad.

I don’t know you can deprive someone of a job they’re capable of doing simply because they’re not your idea of a decent human being. If that were true, there would be a lot fewer lawyers in the world. (Wait...)

As for Avery’s slash, it’s unfortunate the officials didn’t see what was obviously a Bobby Clarke-like attempt to amputate Komisarek’s foot. I suppose you could make the case that’s a suspendable act, but I’d prefer to see him hit with the kind of significant fine (which means far more than a measly $2,500) that would make him think twice about doing it again.

Hi Adam, you recently answered a question regarding referees favoring big market teams. You answered ‘no’ by stating that officials didn't get the memo when Tampa, Carolina and Anaheim won the Stanley Cup.

I have to point out that most fans from Canada know that American teams are favored over Canadian teams all day long. Those three series were the worst I have ever seen (officiating-wise) and they were all against Canadian teams. So, sarcasm aside, can you answer the question again?

Dwayne Champion, Ottawa

Hi Dwayne,

So “most” fans from Canada “know” the NHL is biased in favor of U.S. teams, do they? And you want me to put sarcasm aside? Sarcasm is begging me to not put it aside, but OK.

I’ll repeat what I’ve said all along: when you, WikiLeaks or Angela Lansbury unearths some actual proof of wrongdoing on the part of NHL officials, I’ll be at the front of the lynch mob demanding the heads of all involved. Until then, all these accusations are just white noise to me.

Adam, help answer a question brought up by my co-worker, Andy. Who owns the NHL?

Todd Shannon, Pleasant Prairie, Wis.


Owns, owns. (Sorry, Slap Shot joke.)

In all seriousness, the league isn’t owned by any single person or corporation – it is a business collective run together by the member teams and their owners. Pass that on to Andy.

Hey Adam, my question is about the Caps’, well, cap. Right now, we all know they are a huge Stanley Cup contender and will be for years to come, right? My worry is about their salary cap.

Right now, according to your "Bucks and Pucks" issue, their first line alone is being paid $19 million this year. With Tomas Fleischmann and Brooks Laich getting probable contract extensions in the years to come that no doubt will involve more money as well. And Alex Semin already has a $6 million contract. Not to mention Semyon Varlamov who, along with Michal Neuvirth, each earn $821,000.

How will they keep their team together without getting rid of talent and who will they most likely send away?

Ty Cooper, Burlington, Ont.

Hey Ty,

The short answer is, they won’t keep their team together. The salary cap should be understood as an anti-dynastic talent cap – a means of leveling the competitive playing field – and no team will be able to avoid tough decisions like the ones Washington GM George McPhee will face in the coming years.

In addition to the players you mentioned, McPhee also will have to re-sign defenseman Mike Green (a restricted free agent after next season). With Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Green guaranteed to comprise the core of the Caps for the foreseeable future, Semin is the odds-on favorite to either be traded, or allowed to walk away as an unrestricted free agent. His cap room will be used to retain complementary players.

Adam, why did Jonathan Toews get to be on the cover of EA Sports’ NHL 11 video game when a player from the same team (Patrick Kane) got on it last year? Why not put Sidney Crosby or Henrik Sedin on it instead?

Mark Saville, Lindsay, Ont.


For the definitive answer, you’ll have to check with the folks at EA Sports who made that decision. But I’m sure the fact the Hawks (a) won the Stanley Cup and (b) are riding a wave of renewed interest in hockey in one of America’s biggest cities had more than a little to do with it.

Follow Adam's hockey tweets at, and his non-hockey observations at

Adam Proteau, co-author of the book The Top 60 Since 1967, is writer and columnist for The Hockey News and a regular contributor to His blog appears Thursdays and his Ask Adam feature appears Fridays.

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