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Sloppy Seconds Should Sit November 15, 2010

Posted by CapitalSpirit in Uncategorized.

Just back from watching the Caps win a wild one against Atlanta, and opted to turn on NHL On the Fly on NHL Network. I’d heard that there had been some rough stuff at the Oilers-Rangers game earlier in the day, courtesy of everyone’s favorite pain in the neck, Sloppy Seconds himself, Sean Avery.

“Some rough stuff”? Yeah, about the same way that “Simply Being Loved” by BT has some slightly modified vocals. Wow.

The whole sequence got started, evidently, with Sean Avery sucker-punching Ladislav Smid of the Oilers. The subsequent donnybrook resulted in a total of 84 penalty minutes, and a quartet of game misconducts. In those 84 PIMs were five ten-minute misconduct penalties, which were game misconducts in all but name. There were less than ten minutes left in the third period, and it was effectively over already. No one was expecting the Oilers to net three goals to tie the score and force overtime, and never mind hanging a 4-spot for the win. The Rangers had this one, and all they needed to do was button it up, play with discipline, take the two points, and get on the plane to Pittsburgh for Monday night’s tilt with the Penguins.

Unfortunately, discipline and Sean Avery go together like tiramisu and Tabasco sauce.

Avery knew he could get away with it: because of the NHL’s division-heavy schedule, the Rangers and Oilers won’t meet again this season unless both teams make it to the Stanley Cup Finals. Fat chance of that: the Oilers will be lucky to make the playoffs at their current points pace. And the inter-conference schedule has no cross-border double-headers: it’s either all-US or all-Canada when it comes to inter-conference home-and-home series. The Rangers will face the Edmonton Oilers once a year for the foreseeable future, and that’s that. So Avery knows that he can flap his yapper at Edmonton with impunity, knowing it’ll likely be next season before he faces the Oilers again. And even then, you have to expect some offseason turnover in Edmonton, so it’ll be a different Oilers team than the one which Avery incited at MSG this afternoon.

If this had been the division-rival Flyers, even a cement-head like Sean Avery would know enough to keep his lip zipped. Half a dozen meetings per season mean there will be plenty of opportunities for you to take your medicine, and Dan Carcillo–love him or hate him–is pretty darn good at knocking opponents into next week. (Just ask Matt Bradley.)

But the Oilers? Why bother with discipline? When he’ll only face them once this year–barring a trade, which I don’t see happening–then Avery can be as nasty as he wants to be, knowing he can get away with it scot-free.

And apparently, he already has: the early word that NHL On the Fly passed along was “no suspensions.”

You can not be serious.

Avery’s cheap shot sent almost a quarter of both aggregate rosters to an early shower. His teammates had to drop the gloves and answer for his oversized trap. Brandon Prust–who, at 6’2″, might weigh 200 pounds soaking wet–had to fight with all 6’4″ and 215 pounds of Zack Stortini. Think Prust had a word or two to say to Avery after the game? Someone could have gotten seriously hurt in that melee, too, all because Sean Avery just had no choice but to sucker-punch Smid.

If the NHL won’t suspend Avery, the Rangers need to suspend him, and make an example of him. The Rangers can’t just quietly healthy-scratch Avery for a couple of games and call it done. They need to come out, publicly, and say that this kind of behavior will not be tolerated by their organization. There is a place for agitators in the NHL; there is not a place for sucker-punch artistes. Avery needs to watch a few from the press box, and the Rangers need to make it clear that they are not an organization that wants to live by the cheap shot. Because if you live by the cheap shot, you’re ultimately going to die by the cheap shot.

If Avery plays against Pittsburgh Monday night, then I hope Michael Rupp gives him a couple of very nasty looks at the very least.

Finally, it is astonishing to me that the early word is “no suspensions.” If single-handedly touching off an 84-PIM brouhaha isn’t grounds for suspension, I don’t know what is.

Sloppy Seconds needs to sit.




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