Sloppy Disciplinary Action

The NHL suspending Sean Avery is not about the term “sloppy seconds.”

Is that term any more offensive than Michael Nylander dropping the s-bomb on national TV in the middle of the day? Or are we supposed to believe the NHL is suddenly concerned about players portraying women as possessions?

Or better yet, are we supposed to believe the NHL finds sexist language more dangerous than elbows to the head? Actually, when I was a kid and I would tease my sister, Mother PuckUpdate would tell me words could hurt as much as elbows to the head. I don’t think I understood what she meant until now.

But let’s just say for the sake of argument that the NHL is trying to purge sexist language and behavior from the league. Scott Burnside reports Avery got into a fight with a Bruins fan last month, complete with Avery cursing and directing derogatory remarks toward a woman. That did not result in any disciplinary action. Did Avery’s comments toward that woman not warrant a suspension because Avery’s comments weren’t caught on camera or because she’s not a celebrity? Or, perhaps more likely, is this suspension not about sexist language?

Brett Hull, the co-GM more interested in bringing Avery to Dallas this summer, is already distancing himself from Avery (and I pray and I pray that I’m never in a situation where Hull is saying he thinks I crossed some kind of line; that’s like Plaxico Burress telling you to be more responsible with guns).

The Dallas players, who never warmed to Avery, aren’t rallying around him.

There are only two ways this mess makes sense to me:

  1. The Stars want to unload Avery without taking a cap hit so they’re blowing this incident up and hoping conduct “detrimental to the league or game of hockey” is enough to void the contract.
  2. The league realizes bad news sells better than good news (the Avery story has cracked ESPN) and it’s blowing up the incident to promote the league. You have Avery being controversial and a celebrity’s reputation being sullied; that’s a recipe for eyeballs. And as far as controversies go, this is a great one for the NHL. Slightly shocking but not horrifying, like Todd Bertuzzi’s attack on Steve Moore.

If the NHL is suddenly interested in creating an inviting environment for men and women, I hope they’ll not only continue to investigate the many teams that have homophobic chants in their arenas and stairwells, but also perhaps finally take action on it. Or are we to believe one player making inane remarks is somehow more threatening than hundreds of people chanting something offensive?

Also, I’ve seen OLD SCHOOL about 50 times and I never realized Elisha Cuthbert was in it.