Sean Avery vs. Martin Brodeur: My Take on the NHL's Reaction

Ian RobinettSenior Analyst IApril 14, 2008


Sean Avery's antics in Sunday's matchup between the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils have caused quite a stir in the hockey world. The NHL Front Offices released the following statement.

An unsportsmanlike conduct minor penalty (Rule 75) will be interpreted and applied, effective immediately, to a situation when an offensive player positions himself facing the opposition goaltender and engages in actions such as waving his arms or stick in front of the goaltender's face, for the purpose of improperly interfering with and/or distracting the goaltender as opposed to positioning himself to try to make a play.

Quite frankly, I don't see how the NHL can even say such drivel as this. Why do I feel this way? It is simple.

When I played baseball, I was a catcher. When the opposition was trying to prepare for a steal, the batter would wave his stick in front of my eyes and face, hoping it would get me to miss the ball, and thus help the steal to succeed.

How does this relate?

That was LITTLE LEAGUE BASEBALL! That is the SAME premise as what Sean Avery did to Marty "Bang Bang" Brodeur. If you watch the video, it looks like Avery is taking a chance at being hit by a puck in order to hopefully get a goal.

If they're going to say this is comparable to goaltender interference, what's next? No opposition standing in any place possibly causing an obstruction to a goalie's visibility of the puck?

Seriously, when will the NHL back off of things that may actually add viewers to the game? If I wasn't a hockey fan, and knew this might happen, I would be tuning in to see it.

Then again, the same goes for fighting and, as Bill Clement said,

I have always believed that far more people come to games to see the fights than stay away. One aspect of the human makeup seldom changes, and it is our sense of morbid curiosity...Fighting sells!