So the National Hockey League has decided to muzzle one of its biggest jerks. Apparently, it was a race between the league office and his employers to suspend Dallas Stars forward Sean Avery.
This came after Avery made crude comments about his former girlfriend, who's now dating Calgary's Dion Phaneuf (and naturally, the comments came just before Avery's Stars played Phaneuf's Flames). No sense repeating the comments here; they're the sort of sophomoric, misogynist garbage you'd expect from a lowlife like Avery.
While I certainly don't condone the comments, the fact that Avery has been suspended for them says more about the NHL's screwed-up culture than it does about Avery. The league has tolerated his bizarre on-ice behavior for years. At the time of his suspension, he led the NHL in penalty minutes, while ranking a stellar 210th in scoring.
Who can forget his performance in last year's playoffs, when he took his act to a new level by parking himself in front of New Jersey goaltender Martin Brodeur and then behaving like a man off his meds. Take a look:
The real question about Sean Avery is not, "what's wrong with this guy?". It's bigger: "What's wrong with the NHL?" Why would the Dallas Stars give this nutcase a multimillion dollar, 4-year contract?
If you're looking for some good news in all this, here it is: a year after posting one of the NHL's better records (without Avery), the Stars are now a league doormat, riven by dissension. I sure hope Dallas GM Brett Hull and owner Tom Hicks feel good about giving Avery that fat contract.