Monday, April 14, 2008

Screening Or Unsportsmanlike?

Everyone across the hockey universe seems to be going nuts over Sean Avery's conduct prior to his goal tonight so I felt I would put a separate post on the incident. First off, watch the play if you didn't already see it:

Now, as gratifying as Avery's goal was, his silly attempt to screen Maaaaarrrrtttyyy prior to that has drawn quite the uproar, with the CBC folks (not Don Cherry, of course) going on as to how it had no place in hockey.

Honestly, I had barely noticed it when it happened as I was watching the puck move out on the perimeter. Now, as a Ranger fan, I got a great laugh out of watching the replay - again, and again, and again. Let's be serious though folks, if there was no instigator penalty, Sean would have (rightly) gotten his ass kicked. It is well accepted that Avery has no class on the ice. The ever-respectable Chris Drury came by during play to talk to him and I am sure Renney, Shanny and Jagr (haha) will speak to him about it.

Ron MacLean, in that CBC clip, of course puts it on the refs to level a misconduct on him but officiating is just not the answer. The league has been attempting to over-officiate the games and that has just led to more questionable calls. The four blind mice shouldn't be allowed to dictate the flow and pace of games, that simple.

And you know what? Aside from the Tim "Dr. Hook" McCracken stick waving, there is little to fault Avery for. If he wants to ignore the puck and jump around like an idiot in front of the goaltender, so be it. Why is it ok for Ryan Smyth and Tomas Holmstrom to make a career sticking their rear ends in the goaltender's faces, but Avery is vilified for facing his enemy? It should be on the defensemen to move the clown from the crease, not the officials.

Remove the instigator and allow the players to level their brand of frontier justice. For all of the people who say how primitive that is, hockey players earned a reputation for being classy, yet tough players with a ton of character long before Bettman came in to corporatize the sport.

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