Sean Avery suspension: Media blowhard edition

During our weekly chat today on XM Radio's NHL Home Ice, Thistel and Boomer both vehemently disagreed that the attention given to the Sean Avery "sloppy seconds" suspension would have been muted had the Dallas Stars, rather than the NHL, disciplined him.

All due respect to my radio gods, but if he's a scratch last night and then suspended later by the team, I doubt "The Rush Limbaugh Show" is talking about Sean Avery this afternoon.

From Puck Daddy reader Gordon:

"While driving back to college today, I noticed a sound-byte on the radio plugging that 'a controversial hockey player makes some shocking remarks! We'll get to that next on the Rush Limbaugh Show!' Around 2:30ish, Rush Limbaugh's guest host talked for about 10-12 minutes on Sean Avery, sloppy seconds, Elisha Cuthbert ... and how hockey players really are that much better behaved than the athletes of almost every other pro sport, with Avery being an exception for the most part.

"I don't remember any mention of things like the Bertuzzi incident, yet things like Plaxico Burress, NBA players having children out of wedlock, and drug use were mentioned, all in relation to other sports besides hockey. In the end, the guest host (with a name I can't recall) praised the NHL for seeming to take a stand against bad behavior by athletes, and he went on to continue the praise of NHL'ers."

The guest host was Mark Davis, and the audio is available for Limbaugh subscribers. Mega-dittos, Mr. Bettman.

Until this afternoon, the hockey media's own version of AM radio bloviating -- Larry Brooks of the NY Post and Bruce "Malkin to the Kings" Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun -- had yet to check in on Avery. They didn't disappoint.

Brooks has Avery's back on this one, challenging the League's morals and its right to suspend him:

This suspension must be challenged in an independent forum where the burden of proof would be placed on the commissioner to demonstrate that saying the words "sloppy seconds" represents "[conduct] detrimental to [the NHL] or the game of hockey," as Bettman is claiming in citing the language in By-Law 17 and Article 6 of the NHL constitution as grounds for imposing discipline.

Has Avery gone too far this time? Oh, has he gone farther than Chris Pronger when the Anaheim defenseman twice within four games of the 2006 Finals nailed Ottawa opponents with shots to the head.

Apparently, Avery has gone farther than Pronger, apparently Avery's language was far more detrimental to the game than Pronger's forearm; twice as bad, actually, for the NHL suspended Pronger for one game following each incident.

Garrioch takes a much more mannered, well-reasoned approach in ... aw, who are we kidding -- damn the torpedoes and suspend Sean Avery FOR LIFE!

From Off the Posts:

Time to ban Sean Avery from the NHL for life. He has got to go. They shouldn't allow this guy back into the league.

He has embarrassed himself and his teammates enough. This guy makes some NHL badboys look like choirboys.

I had been told after the incident's in Boston a few weeks ago that many in the Dallas dressing room were wondering why the organization signed him in the first place. Brett Hull stuck his neck out for Avery and this could cost Hull any shot at a GM's job.

Everybody is quick to dump on Gary Bettman for doing nothing. He made the right move here getting this guy off the ice right away.

Make an example of this guy. Ban him for life. Classless. Conduct detrimental to the game is about the least of the worries.

Saying something completely outlandish just to draw attention to yourself no matter how it makes your organization look?

Garrioch, of all people, should understand Avery's plight.

Back to XM today -- the boys did agree with a basic point of mine, which is that the NHL taking on this issue puts the focus on its own warped priorities. Instead of the Dallas Stars taking care of their own, the NHL showed an incredible ferocity in its rules enforcement by suspending Avery; unprecedented, when compared to nearly every other case of on-ice misbehavior.

By picking this fight, the NHL has taken the spotlight from Avery' perverted joke and placed it on its own perverted justice. So while a great columnist like Ken Campbell of The Hockey News calls for Avery's buy-out in Dallas, the most memorable lines in his column come during a bashing the NHL's disciplinary system.

You think that happens if the Stars handle this internally?

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