Take a gander at that fellow to the right. Who is he? French fashion model? German modern artist? The new face of Calvin Klein? No, that's Sean Avery, hockey player. Doesn't quite look the part? Well, that makes a good deal of sense. Avery doesn't act like a regular NHL player. That would be beneath a self-proclaimed "fashionhorse" like him. Avery achieved a measure of fame recently over comments about ex-girlfriends dating other hockey players. Suspended for six games, he returned to the Dallas Stars only to find that his teammates didn't want him around anymore. He's currently being locked out of the League by an organization that would rather pay him money to sit at home than have him put on a Stars jersey and pretend to represent them. Unreasonable? Not when we're talking about Sean Avery.
Avery is notable for being the namesake of "The Avery Rule." During a Stanley Cup Playoffs game last season, Avery decided that his time would be best spent standing two feet away from goaltender Martin Brodeur, facing him, and waving his arms and stick wildly in an attempted distraction right out of an epileptic disco. Officials were stunned. Players were embarrassed. The following day, NHL management issued a statement ruling that Avery's behavior was punishable under the League's definition of unsportsmanlike conduct, perhaps in an attempt to protect him from making an ass of himself in the future.
Don Cherry described Avery thusly: "I've known this kid since he was about 16 years old; once a jerk, always a jerk." Truer words may never have been spoken, and Avery continues to make a joke of himself around the League. His aspiration, it seems, is to turn the NHL into the sort of sideshow that the NBA has long since become - one where colorful personalities and a degernate culture supercede sportsmanship and quality play. Keep in mind that the NHL is the only major sports league in the United States to present an annual award for sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct - the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy. Sportsmanship is an integral part of the NHL's identity, and extends throughout the hockey world. One of the greatest joys I found in playing hockey for several years was that it is in many ways designed to breed character in its players. Clearly, there are exceptions to this rule, including Sean Avery.
Sean Avery does not understand that the NHL is not his own personal sideshow, nor does he seem to comprehend that there is no place in professional hockey for the sort of antics that fly in the NBA and the NFL. He is now right where he should be - off the ice and away from the game, with no team rushing to pick him up. He is an embarrassment to hockey. Sean Avery is a joke of a human being. Tell your friends.