NEW YORK – It seems like every time the Rangers take on the Devils, the devil incarnate himself, Sean Avery, has something to do with the decision.
Tonight’s 3-0 Ranger win was no exception.
With an assist and a non-fight against David Clarkson, the Grate One had his presence felt each minute he was on the ice.
“It’s old news right now,” said coach John Tortorella. “Sean Avery is part of the hockey team. He’s a disciplined player for us. He’s an effective player for us. I just want to make sure we keep Sean in the team and not make it the team and Sean.”
Very well, and Avery is a different player. But as long as the NHL continues to allow the forward to be an unfair target, there will be questions about Avery.
All night long the Devils were seeking out No. 16. He was bumped bruised and tossed around by packs of faceless players. And when David Clarkson went after Avery in the third, the referees allowed Avery to be rag dolled to the ice, not once but twice.
And the league doesn’t just turn a blind eye, it actually sanctions the abuse. The referees sit there and unfairly let Avery take his lumps. He took a pummeling and then had to sit for two minutes on a roughing call? That’s ridiculous. If Avery was good enough to be reinstated, then he should be shown the same impartial on-ice arbitration as every other player in the rink.
“I think [the refs] look at him differently than the rest of us,” said Ranger captain Chris Drury. “For whatever reason, because he was never suspended for anything on-ice. I think he got a tough ride. He’s been competing like crazy and showing discipline.”
Sure Avery and his mouth brought all of this on, but he did the time for the crime and now has a second chance. Unfortunately the National Hypocrite League doesn’t see it that way and continues to persecute a player for a past sin with time served. If Avery was suspended for a cocaine addiction, frequented a prostitute, did steroids, or anything else illegal he would have been welcomed back with open arms for his courage and strength to get through the tough time. Heck he may have been a Masterton nominee for it.
But all Avery did was say things about his ex-girlfriend and agitate players. It makes you wonder about the thin skin of the NHL. These players have competed on a high level since grade school. They have to have heard it all. What does No. 16 say that makes them so crazy? Sure he gets personal, but come-on. Have they ever just thought of just ignoring him?
Of course not, which makes Avery a target. To his credit Avery is a changed person. No longer does he send barbs out through the press. Two years ago he called Clarkson a “bonehead minor leaguer” after being targeted and now Avery is a little more restrained with his remarks.
“You know it’s a 3-0 game and I don’t think there’s anything to gain at that point,” he said and also added, “It certainly takes discipline for sure. You fight for your team and for your teammates. At that point, I didn’t need to fight for either of them.”
Clarkson received a 10 minute misconduct, but Colin Campbell needs to step in and suspend the Devils forward. If the league is serious about cutting down on fighting, they need to do something about the mugging that took place in the third. It’s only right.
Imagine if the same thing happened with Brandon Dubinsky, Ryan Callahan, or even Chris Drury. The question would then not be if, but how long should Clarkson sit. But because it’s Avery, the National Hypocrite League decides it’s ok for it to happen. Because Avery is persona non-grata in this league, the biased calls and cheap shots are allowed to continue.
Yet, maybe in the long run that’s a good thing. Avery is trying to improve and become a better player and person and with each passing day, the Rangers little devil is proving that he’s already above the hypocrites that run this show.