As much as I hate to do it, I feel I must. As much as I hate to give any time even thinking, let alone writing about omnipresent pest, Sean Avery. I won't put nearly the time into it that some of my favorite fellow bloggers have, but I will get it out of my system. But just in case you can't get your fill, check out Puck Daddy's side of it, and for another side, and a take on all the other opinions, check out my B's compatriot, Here Come the Bruins. Or if somehow you've been living under a rock for the day, you can hear about it on every other mainstream media outlet from Rush Limbaugh to Kevin & Bean on KROC as I was riding home from work.
First off, I'll say I am not a fan of Sean Avery, or his antics, but like it or not he's a profesional hockey player who earns a couple of million per year to play in the National Hockey League. If you offered me that kind of money, I could be a real asshole too, if that's what you were paying me for, and a pretty good one at that. The Dallas Stars knew what they were getting when they offered him $15.5mil for four years, and even if Brett Hull pushed for the deal, Les Jackson can't claim that he's not at fault for allowing it to happen. I think the rest of the hockey world thought that Steve Ott was enough for Big D, and Brenden Morrow can definetely mix it up when the occasion calls for it.
But by Bettman showing his hand by ordering the suspension, he has not only ruined an otherwise sleeper of a game, but now he has his final decision on this whole spectacle in the media spotlight. Had Bettman called the Stars organization and demanded a suspension by the team, as Puck Daddy suggests, this would be a non-issue in terms of the precedence the mainstream media has given it. "You think that happens if the Stars handle this internally?" Wyshynski states. Definetely not, hockey resumes its regular spot in the corner. The Dallas brass issued their displeasure with the remark so quickly, that it wouldn't have taken much convincing from Little Gary. But now, the media is all over it, and Sean Avery wins again. He gets exactly what he wants, more time in the spotlight, not to mention a league mandated break from an awful season for the Stars. The real punishment would have been to let him play, but in the interest of safety, either Dion or Jarome would have done their best to punch Avery's ticket. It would have made an otherwise dull game interesting, but potentially could have led to a lot more fallout for the league. It was a good decision to keep Avery out of the game, bottom line. An indefinite suspension, ummmm, not so much. I guess it gives you enough time to figure out what to do with him, and have him issue his extremely politically friendly "apology." Avery's future in the league will be determined at a later date. Okay that's enough of that.
Saw something interesting, and a little confusing in the St. Louis Blues vs. Minnesota Wild game tonight. Coach Andy Murray, "one of hockey’s most respected coaches" as his team profile states, opted to pull his goaltender for an extra attacker in the waning minutes of the third with his team down by three goals. Hey Andy, there's nothing wrong with giving your team a chance, but lets not be delusional about an abysmal Blues team that couldn't score on Nik Backstrom for the first 58 minutes. Then, to pour salt on an open wound, Antti Miettinen catches a headman pass from Belanger and breaks towards the open net, flying past newly acquired Toronto defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo, whose last ditch effort to dive and knock the puck away with his stick, ends up in Miettinen's skates. Apparently a penalty shot awarded when the net is empty, is just credited as a goal. The Wild win 4-0.
Just a quick spot on coaching changes... Peter Laviolette has been axed as Carolina's head coach, and been replaced with former Carolina, (and even Hartford), head coach Paul Maurice. This makes shitcanning the Head Coach that led you to a Grail win a few years before the new "in" thing. John Tortorella, who steered the Lighting to the Cup in '03-'04, was given his walking papers before the season started in favor of the Mullet, Barry Melrose, who was sent home sobbing 16 games into the season. Interesting choice for Carolina, bringing back a previous head coach, but as the majority of the hockey world stated, that locker room needed a "shakeup." I personally like Maurice, who didn't have much to work with in his previous job in Toronto, but I'm not sure he's going to provide a real earth-shattering difference in that locker room. But this boss change made me think of another possible change in the near future, Craig MacTavish in Edmonton. MacT has been personally calling out players, most notably Dustin Penner, who, obvious to everyone else but Kevin Lowe, would not live up to the offer sheet he received. I think Mac is a good coach, and he's the perfect coach for Edmonton, where he spent the majority of his 14 helmetless seasons playing. But oh, rumble, rumble, the sluggish Oilers need a "shakeup," rumble, rumble. Does Laviolette fit in Edmonton? Maybe. Torts? Probably a better choice for a hard-nosed Canadian team like that. Think Darryl Sutter in Calgary. In summation, Laviolette, overachieving coach who got raw deal. Tortorella, think sandpaper on your bare ass. Maurice, good coach, but needs help in producing a winner. Melrose, stay in the booth, please. MacTavish, another good coach who's going to find another job quick, if he loses the one he's got.
Bye for now...