. . . you get Sean Avery.
Sean Avery is a goon who plays for the Dallas Stars of the National Hockey League. He has moderate talent for hockey, but he has great talent as an agitator. This time, however, he took agitation too far, speaking of Calgary Flames player Dion Phaneuf and Dion's relationship with actress and former Avery girlfriend Elisha Cuthbert, calling her his sloppy seconds. The NHL has suspended him indefinitely, pending a meeting between Avery and NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman.
Now, I'm not a huge fan of Bettman. I blame him for the near-death of hockey through the lockout of 2004-2005. I blame him for hockey's plunging popularity. But I cannot blame him for suspending Avery. In fact, I think this is one of the few good decisions he has made in his tenure as Commissioner.
The Dallas Stars said that if the NHL hadn't suspended him, they would have. I'm also no fan of the Dallas Stars, and I haven't been for nearly a decade when Brett Hull "scored" with his foot in the crease and the NHL did not overturn the call, giving the Stars the Stanley Cup and denying the Sabres their rightful chance to win it. But I applaud the organization, players and management, for their stand.
An ESPN.com reader responding to this article said, "Guys like Avery could save the NHL. The league has no personality. I love hockey and am a diehard Blues fan, but the league needs a little controversy to draw some attention. Avery is a punk, but he's an interesting punk..." If garbage like that is what it takes to make hockey popular again, I say, let it die. I'd rather have no hockey than that kind of hockey.