There are several choice words that Hockey Fans use when describing Sean Avery, and none of them are flattering... Unless he plays for your favourite team.
Avery is the kind of player that gets under the opposing team's skin and throws the stars, the grinders, the checkers, and even the occasional official off their game. He is in one simple word: a pest. He's gone on record before saying that nothing is sacred, and he'll say or do anything to aggravate the other team's players.
And he did just that the other night when his New York Rangers played against the New Jersey Devils.
Avery was in front of Martin Brodeur in an attempt to screen the super-star goalie's view of the puck, when he suddenly turned around and faced the Devils' netminder. Avery then started waving his stick and mitts in front of Brodeur's face as if he had a flagpole instead of a hockey stick. Avery got a reaction from Brodeur as he gave Avery a shove and then stopped a shot. Brodeur got a penalty for the shove. To make matters worse, Avery scored the next goal of the game.
After the game, Colin Campbell (Senior Vice President and Director of Hockey Operations) and Gary Bettman (Commissioner of the NHL) determined that the act will from now on be penalized with a 2 minute minor infraction.
However, the following day at practice, Avery was seen practicing his new "illegal" move. When he realized he was being videotaped Avery, in all his glory, "flipped the bird" and told the camera "he's # 1" (Note: Words and actions have been softened to maintain article cleanliness).
But Hockey Fans know that if he was placed on the trading block, a lot of General Managers would be picking up their phones and calling to see what kind of a deal they could strike. He's a fantasy owners dream that will often score 50 points and get 150 penalty minutes (this year his totals were stunted due to wrist surgery and injuries, only scoring 33 points but accumulating 154 PIMs).
He has one major flaw, in my humble opinion. The only player on the ice that has any right to hit a goalie is another goalie (and they should meet at center ice so everyone gets a good view). Avery has a habit of shoving and facewashing the puckstoppers he plays against, and that isn't right. With all their extra equipment, they're at a huge disadvantage if it actually escalated to the fight, so he shouldn't be trying to bait them (you have to draw the line somewhere).
If you're a Rangers fan you love him and if you're not, then you hate him... But would love to have him in your team's jersey.