OK, so everybody is up in arms over Sean Avery’s latest attention-getting escapade. So what’s the big deal?
For those who didn’t see it, here’s the situation. Second period, game tied 1-1. Rangers have a 5-on-3 power play, with Vitali Vishnevski (elbowing) and Bryce Salvador (puck over glass) in the box for New Jersey. Avery, left alone in the crease while the Rangers moved the puck around the perimeter, turned his back to the play, faced Martin Brodeur, and started screaming and waving his stick in Brodeur’s face. Marty responded with a glove-handed slap to Avery’s head. Avery eventually stopped his absurd face-guarding schtick, and soon after he started paying attention to the play again, Scott Gomez set him up for a goal that gave the Rangers a 2-1 lead.
Today, the league announced an immediate rule change, giving referees the power to call an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty when a player turns his back to the play to face-guard the goalie.
We don’t need a rule for this. Just let Avery, or the next pest to try this, get whacked in a vulnerable spot on the back of his body by a friendly-fire slap shot, and it won’t happen again. The referees had an option on the ice, too. Avery’s stick waving antics were clearly over his shoulders, so a high-sticking wouldn’t have been out of the question. Avery, 2 for high-sticking. Brodeur, 2 for roughing. There. Sunday’s problem solved.
Or just let Brodeur give Avery a little how’s your father the next time he’s near the crease. (What would lumberjacks like Billy Smith or Tom Barrasso have done to Avery while the ref wasn’t looking? I’m guessing that a slash to the ankles would have been a good start. Would Avery have even tried this with Ron Hextall?)
You know why Avery is so good at being an agitator? He’s mastered the art of picking his spots. He pulled this stunt during a 5-on-3, when the Devils couldn’t afford to retaliate without being out of position or taking yet another penalty. Any other situation, and there’s at least one defenseman patrolling the crease, ready to dump Avery on his ass, or worse, within seconds.
“The Sean Avery Rule”. Or, if you prefer, “The Cock Knocker Rule”. He must have the biggest shit-eating grin on his face right now. He finally went far enough to have a rule named after him.