Someone PLEASE smack Sean Avery
"When asked about the blueliner's hit on Kings teammate Jeremy Roenick in a preseason game Sunday night, Avery did not hold back digging into Gauthier and Quebec-born NHLers.
"I think it was a clean hit," he explained on Tuesday. "I think it was typical of most French guys in our league with a visor on, running around and playing tough and not back anything up."
"I'd think if a guy like Brett Hull was coming up the middle, somebody probably wouldn't have stepped up and hit him, but like I said, a typical move from a guy wearing a visor that certainly doesn't like to get scratched at all."
I commented on J.R.'s rant post-hit, and though I basically disagreed with everything he said about how players should take it easy on each other in the pre-season, I could at least understand where he was coming from.
Avery? This guy's an idiot.
Of course, it's hardly anything new. This is the same player who lashed out against the NHLPA, and not in a diplomatic way either. If you believe the rumor mill, Tie Domi threatened to beat the shit out of Avery in a union meeting. I'm no Tie Domi fan, and I take issue with his own comments lately regarding Ted Saskin's hiring, but I would've loved nothing more than Domi punching Avery right in the face.
I really hate stereotyping in hockey. I hate when the Don Cherry's of the world talk about chicken Euros and their passiveness, and all his minions that eat up every word he says and recite it verbatim on sports talk radio across the country. All one had to do was listen to Ottawa's sports talk station The Team 1200 the day the Sens traded Marian Hossa to Atlanta for Dany Heatley to hear it being recited. Marian Hossa, a Slovak, was a pussy. He couldn't play physical, he wasn't a playoff performer, he had no heart. Of course, this is absolutely incorrect.
Though there was a time, early in his career when he had the unflattering nickname of “Maid Marian”, that Hossa was a somewhat timid player. But in the last two or three seasons in Ottawa, he emerged as a strong, physical, power forward. These yahoos still called into every postgame show to say the Sens needed a power forward, not realizing they not only already had one, but had one of the better ones in the league. The “not a playoff performer” thing is just silly. On a team full of guys who don’t live up to expectations in April and May, Hossa has been old faithful (as has another target and evil European, captain Daniel Alfredsson). In 2002’s playoffs, he had 10 points in 12 games, in 2003 he had 16 in 18, and last season 4 in 7. Obviously, you’d hope for more than four points out of your top scorer, but the guy was getting chance after chance after chance. It just so happened that Ed Belfour was standing on his head and stonewalling the entire team. As for the “no heart” accusation, does anyone remember game seven against New Jersey in 2003? With the score tied 2-2 with a few minutes left, Hossa, going after a loose puck, when crashing to the net, and got crotched on the post. Just watching it made me hurt. Yet he stayed on the ice for the next shift. When the team ended up losing that game, was Hossa, the cowardly lion of the NHL, indifferent? Hardly. The guy had tears in his eyes. But you want to tell me he didn’t care about winning?
I hate to bring this back to Marian Hossa and that trade, because it’s been talked into the ground here, and everywhere else, but it’s a shining example of the prejudices that I completely hate in hockey. I’d like to think a country like Canada, which prides itself on being tolerant and multicultural, would be beyond this nonsense, but obviously, we’re not.
Also, when are we going to get over this retarded "visor=pussy" stance? I thought it had died down, but here's a young player with that opinion. Did we learn nothing from Steve Yzerman's injury? He almost lost his vision. Notice he's come back with a visor. Does that make him any less of a gusty player? He even said, after he got hurt, that he was stupid all those years for not wearing a visor.
I can sorta get the opinion that people who wear visors shouldn't fight, because it gives them an unfair advantage, but to say that they're cowards, they don't like to be hit, etc.? What year is it?
Oh, and what does new fan favorite Dany Heatley wear on his helmet? A visor, and a pretty big one at that. And with good reason. But does that make him any less tough, does that make the dozens of calls I heard on local radio about him being a good ol’ Canadian boy who will take the Sens to the promised land wrong? Of course not. It means he doesn’t want to lose his eye if he gets a puck there.
I’d like to think the Sean Avery’s of the world are just the vocal minority, and maybe they are, but unfortunately, I suspect a whole lot of people, probably even some reading this, subscribe to the “chicken Euros” school of thought. Think that French players are scared. And that’s what makes comments like his, even with the nicely written apology that came a few hours later, disappointing. Hockey is just a sport, but it often reflects aspects of society I don’t like.