Class vs. Classless—that's the perfect way to describe the Devils vs. Rangers Game Three that I witnessed Sunday night.
I’ll give Big Angry Man the credit for the tag line, as it was his impression of what we saw. This particular game was just difficult to watch, even more so than the first two Devils’ losses.
I’m just getting sick and tired of watching Zach Parise getting mugged. The kid has already lost his two front teeth by taking a stick to the mouth. The Rangers have taken every liberty with him that they can and it’s frustrating to watch.
How many times can he take a high stick to the mouth with no penalty? How many times can he be the little weeble that bounces back up every time he is knocked to the ice? How many painkillers does he need to take just to "lace 'em up!"?
Like most hockey players, he is a noble warrior.
But Sunday night, in this game that I love, I witnessed the absolute epitome of classless behavior in what agitator Sean Avery did Marty Brodeur in the second period.
Marty must have said something about Avery's mother, because Brodeur was in Avery's face all night. In the first period, Avery purposely backed into Marty at the top of the crease which earned him a penalty. Of course Avery tried to play it off as if he is perfectly innocent. “Whaatt?? What did I do? What is he doing there?” Avery knows full well that Brodeur plays further outside the net than anyone else. He knew exactly what he was doing, and the video replay only confirmed it.
But that wasn’t quite enough for Avery.
In his twisted little mind, he had to come up with something else that could throw Marty off his game, so he became creative.
In a display that can only be called, childish, rude and completely disrespectful, he stood facing Marty and taunted him with his stick and his hands. It was like watching a school yard bully relentlessly taunting the classroom brainiac. Avery waved his hands in Marty’s face, keeping him from watching the puck in play. He raised his stick and waved it like a flag in Marty’s eyes. No whistle, no call. Marty gave him a little push, and only then did that catch attention.
And there was Avery with his tiresome “What Me?” look. It seems there isn’t a specific rule for waving your hands in front of the goaltenders' eyes from three inches away. Sean’s only job was to keep Marty out of the play that was going on in front of him. I have never seen anything so despicable in my life.
In a sport that is filled with rich history and what was supposed to be professional respect, Sean Avery did everything but stick his tongue out and shake his butt yapping “Nah, nah. You can’t get me.” He is a spoiled child spitting in the face of greatness. Even more disgusting.... he scored on a subsequent shift.
To further add injury to insult, Brodeur was knocked down and his helmet sent flying late in the third period. I let out an audible gasp and held my breath waiting for him to get back up off the ice. He was uninjured but visibly shaken and took full advantage of the TV time out. He leaned on the net and tried to regain his focus.
I was just glad the Devils ended up having the last laugh as Madden bounced a puck off a Ranger skate to beat Lundquist in overtime and give the Devils’ their first win of the series.
The League must, repeat MUST look into Sean Avery’s disgusting behavior and rule on it. If you can wave your stick in a goalie’s eyes while he is trying to keep track of the puck, then what will be allowed next?
I'm afraid to find out.