Sean Avery vs. the NHL: Enough is Enough

Vinny MadioCorrespondent IMarch 30, 2009

NEW YORK - MARCH 24:  Cal Clutterbuck #22 of the Minnesota Wild fights Sean Avery #16 of the New York Rangers during the first period on March 24, 2009 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Let me guess, you saw the title and figured another NHL fan angry at Sean Avery for his antics. 

Well if you guessed that, then you would be wrong.

Before I step on the wrong toes, I never condoned his quotes earlier in the season with the sloppy seconds or anything like that. But on the ice, I have always loved watching this guy play.  He is a pest, an annoyance, and he gets under you skin in ways that might upset people. 

But I see nothing wrong with a little trash talk, or going to the net and getting in front of a goalie. Heck, they have more pads on than the regular players, so what's the big deal if they get hit a little.

It is hockey, after all. 

But what I don't understand is, anything this man does now is a penalty. The referees jump right in and throw him to the box. But when people go after him, the referees let play go on, and let him get taken down. 

That's why I say enough is enough.

Saturday in Pittsburgh, Sidney Crosby, the so called "Face of the NHL", was awarded about four penalties due to being cross-checked, hooked or interfered with.

Sean Avery, nowhere near the puck, was interfered with twice, hit from behind, knocked down to the ground, and nothing was called. 

And it was seen, because the referee was right there, and didn't even attempt to blow his whistle—twice. 

So, the NHL got their payback to Sean. The suspension wasn't enough, so they got their cheap shots on him on the ice. 

Enough is enough right? Well, I guess not.

Tonight, the Rangers were home against Martin Brodeur and those feisty Devils, and once again, without doing anything wrong but going to the front of the net, it was Brodeur who used his stick at the crotch of Avery, but nothing was called. 

Once was fine, but more cheap shots were taken at Avery, and still no whistles were blown. 

Then there was David Clarkson, the one Avery called a "nobody".  Clarkson went after Avery, dropped the gloves and wanted to fight.

Avery decided not to, wanted to draw a penalty, and he did—on himself. 

Clarkson wound up taking Avery down twice, even though Avery decided not to fight. Clarkson grabbed him and took him down, and the single referee finally jumped in, but went to grab Avery. 

The guy who wasn't doing anything, but the referee went for him, allowing Clarkson to be free and to get another shot at Avery, as he took him down again, and could of really hurt him. 

What did Clarkson get—another two minute roughing penalty and a ten-minute misconduct.

Of course, that would of suspended Clarkson, and we can't suspend Clarkson for something the NHL wanted to happen.

So I ask you this: If Avery went after Clarkson, and Clarkson just sat there to draw the penalty, would the referees been so hesitant to jump in?  Would they have allowed Avery to take Clarkson down twice without jumping in?

I think we all know the answer to these questions. The referees would of jumped in and would have thrown Avery out.  And then the NHL would of tried suspending him and possibly banned him instead. 

You can think I am just an upset Ranger fan and that's fine, but my proof is on the tapes as to the way the officials have called games with Avery.

Even the announcers on Versus couldn't stop talking about the shenanigans of Sean Avery.  But when Clarkson acted like a goon, or how Rupp came off the bench to attack Avery, nothing was said. Not a single word.

That is how it's going to be for Avery. It's him against the NHL, for the rest of the season and maybe for rest of his career.

But there is one thing Sean Avery has on his side, that not even Gary Bettman has on his side: He has the fans and the people of New York City behind him.

Sure he has his teammates, but he has the fans' support most of all. The same crazy New Yorkers that embraced Reggie Jackson, David Wells, Latrell Spreewell, and Lawrence Taylor. 

Ranger fans specifically always cheer for the tough guy like Matthew Barnaby, Joey Kocur, and of course, Tie Domi.

Sean Avery is one of us. He is a true New Yorker at heart. 

He goes to work with a chip on his shoulder, he isn't afraid to fight back and most importantly, he wants to be the best. 

If the NHL and Bettman are smart, they would leave Avery where he is—the center of attention for the NHL, with games on Versus and NBC, and the center of attention in New York because the Rangers are better with him and when the Rangers are better, so are the ratings. 

The NHL tried suspending him, and it made it worse. Now he got back to where he wanted to be all along, and he beat Gary Bettman and the NHL. He got under the collective NHL skin so bad, they had to suspend him, but it only made it better for him because now he can be a hero to Ranger fans, again. 

But it did prove one thing: Gary Bettman needs Sean Avery.



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