Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Will Avery be called on the carpet?

The net result out of some pre game troubles and a subsequent fight featuring New York Ranger bad boy Sean Avery may be a trip to see Colin Campbell.

The NHL’s Chief Disciplinarian is apparently taking a look at a pre game incident, in which some reports suggest that Sean Avery engaged in some boorish verbal sparring with members of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

In the pre game skate, Avery and the Leafs Darcy Tucker and Jason Blake exchanged words and shoves, after Avery reportedly directed his comments towards Blake.
Described by Tucker as classless comments, the nature of them has not been publicly revealed and there apparently is no audio available to help in the analysis of the verbal sputtering of Saturday night.
It was however an incident that seemed to get Hockey Night in Canada’s Don Cherry all worked up, he first expressed his contempt for Avery prior to the puck drop and again during his coach’s corner segment complete with video of the troubles (see video clip here) and then rehashed his thoughts of Saturday night again on his Grapeline radio show on Monday.

Avery’s agent in the meantime has expressed indignation at the Toronto radio station, The Fan 590 which first broadcast the story of the nature of the incident, suggesting that the matter is now in the hands of Avery’s legal advisers.

The nature of the supposed remarks is something that at the moment only Avery, Tucker and Blake would have first hand information on. Making the work of Campbell a little bit harder than the usual high profile video that he (and the entire hockey world) sees after a controversial incident on the ice.

Avery does have a history with the discipline office of the NHL, frequently for his on ice behaviour or saying something or other that is not in good taste or at times has been alleged to be racist. Perhaps that is why this latest incident involving him is getting such attention; the pattern from the past is not something that will not necessarily work in his favour.

In the past, players have only been reprimanded if they confessed to their behavior, judging by the tone of Avery and his agent and now with lawyers involved on his side that would seem to be an unlikely scenario.

Perhaps the NHL will get lucky and a lip reader will make some sense of that Hockey Night in Canada footage of Saturday’s pre game fracas.

A more likely scenario however, is that word will spread on the incident and somewhere, sometime, someone most likely will bring it up in the course of a game and the scene will be set for an on ice version of frontier justice.

Then in a round about way, the NHL may find itself addressing the fall out form Saturday night’s dispute. Avery has frequently found himself in the centre of a hurricane in NHL matters, another one blew in on Saturday and somehow we don’t think the winds will be calm for awhile.

National Post--Crossing the Line
New York Post--I was libeled
ESPN--Rangers forward riles Leafs with pregame antics
The Sun--Leafs upset by Avery's trash talk
CBC Sports--NHL looking into Sean Avery allegation
Toronto Star--War of words far from over

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