Skip to main content Blog: Hypocrisy abounds surrounding Avery suspension

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

All right now, let me get this straight; Four years ago, Todd Bertuzzi brazenly attacked Steve Moore from behind, punched him in the head and broke Moore’s neck, yet Bertuzzi didn’t have to “agree to seek professional anger management evaluation and, if necessary, structured counseling in response to a pattern of unacceptable and antisocial behavior.”

Jesse Boulerice crosschecks a player in the face. No anger management counseling for him. Steve Downie, a poster boy for unruly play on the ice; no anger management counseling. Chris Pronger has been suspended eight times for a total of 20 regular season games and two playoff games for offenses ranging from stepping on and kicking players to slashing them in the throat. To our knowledge, Mr. Pronger has never been forced to spend any time on a long couch.

But Sean Avery, who it appears has been guilty of everything from setting back the women’s movement to the global economic crisis in recent days, has apparently “sought” anger management counseling while he cools his heels during his six-game suspension. It should be noted, of course, that Avery has never committed a single act on the ice that has warranted a suspension, but apparently needs anger management to control his potty mouth.

What a joke.

Of course, this has been a complete joke from the beginning with people in the NHL who hold posts ranging from executives to players hiding behind the veil of political correctness, all the while justifying the stupid things they do on the ice as “part of the game.”

Avery is guilty of being a self-serving bonehead and deserves to be cuffed upside the head for the way he objectified former girlfriend Elisha Cuthbert and, by extension, all women. That he got 300 percent of the games Randy Jones got last season for almost ending Patrice Bergeron’s career with a vicious headshot/hit from behind is complete and utter lunacy.

Of course, we now know that had the NHL not suspended Avery, the Dallas Stars would have. Owner Tom Hicks said so himself when he condemned Avery.

“This organization will not tolerate such behavior, especially from a member of our hockey team,” Hicks sanctimoniously said in a news release. “We hold our team to a high standard and will continue to do so.”

This is the same team that, if you click on their website, you’ll find a section dedicated solely to something called the “Planet Tan Ice Girls,” a group of 16 young women with names such as Meagan, Kristin, Angie, Meggie and Kaylynn who skate out in tight pants and halter tops with lots of midriff showing to clear off the ice during TV timeouts (Notice how none of the NHL teams ever uses the overweight Zamboni driver with the ball cap and the mullet to do that particular task?).

And if you scroll down to the bottom of the page, you’ll find a photo gallery of the Planet Tan “Boat Day,” which just happens to feature all 16 ice girls frolicking on a boat and in the water, all the while wearing bikinis. On the same portion of the website is an advertisement for an online dating chat room that encourages its customers to, “Stop. Stare. Flirt.” (When you enter the site, you’re greeted by video of a young woman typing on a laptop wearing nothing but her undergarments.)

So, I guess holding your organization to a “high standard” includes objectifying women, just so long as they all go along with it, of course.

Then there’s the notion some people are putting forth that Avery has been responsible for the fact the Stars currently hold down last place in the Western Conference.

Has Avery been a $4 million player this season? Not a chance. Has he been a cancer in the dressing room? We can only assume so. Do his teammates and coaches want him around? Evidently not.

But is it his fault Marty Turco currently has an .872 save percentage, which just happens to be the worst in the NHL? In fact, the game after Avery was suspended and the Stars were supposed to be rid of him, Turco allowed four goals on just 21 shots, including one that came from just inside the blueline.

Is it Avery’s fault Mattias Norstrom retired and the Stars decided not to re-sign Niklas Hagman? Is Avery to blame for the fact Steve Ott keeps getting into fights and getting hurt? That Brenden Morrow, Sergei Zubov and Jere Lehtinen have all had long-term injuries and the Stars have not had all three together for a single game? Is Avery at fault for the fact the Stars have won two straight games only once this season?

Of course not. But it’s convenient right now to blame him for all of that. Just as it’s convenient for the league to suspend him and make him undergo anger management counseling while other players nearly decapitate their colleagues on the ice.

Ken Campbell is a senior writer for The Hockey News and a regular contributor to His blog appears Wednesday and Fridays and his column, Campbell's Cuts, appears Mondays.

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