Monday, April 14, 2008

The "Sean Avery Rule"

The Sean Avery Rule: no face-guarding or goalie interferenceThe NHL checks Avery's face-guarding with the "Sean Avery Rule."

This is a guy you love when he's on your team, but the rest of the league hates his guts. His homies in Canada really want to wring his neck.

We agree with Michael Farber at SI, who wrote "In Defense of Sean Avery."
Avery, a lightning rod for criticism throughout his career, has been trashed for the maneuver. On TSN, guest commentator Mark Recchi of the Atlanta Thrashers said that there was no place in the game for Avery's antics. Others wonder why the referees, Don Van Massenhoven and Mike Hasenfratz, simply didn't whistle Avery for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, which would have put an end to the face guarding.

The consensus, however, that Avery had somehow impugned the good name of hockey with his stick waving was almost comical. On the one hand, these are the playoffs and players are supposed to do "whatever it takes" to win, including scrums and face washes and that after-the-final-whistle slash by Bruins winger Milan Lucic on Canadiens defenseman Mike Komisarek's injured hip in Game 1. On the other hand, some people around the NHL have such delicate sensibilities that Avery merely standing in front of the crease and acting like a maniac is an insult.

You really can't have it both ways.

Would there have been a torrent of outrage if the player in front of Brodeur had been anyone other than Avery?

Then again, would someone other than Avery have been audacious enough to even try the gambit, which is not specifically proscribed? ...
Another look at the desecration of the holy game. The Pope will be visiting soon, should he excommunicate Avery for this blasphemy?

Give Avery some credit for trying to pull off a clever gambit in an important game.

The official league press release, -- NHL rules on goalie interference :
New York Ranger forward Sean Avery’s controversial face-guarding of New Jersey goalie Martin Brodeur in Sunday’s Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal Series was dealt with by the League in a swift and decisive manner Monday.

Avery made headlines across the hockey world Sunday night when, during a 5-on-3 power play, he stood with his back to the play and waved his arms in front of Brodeur to distract the goalie. At another point, he also held his stick in front of Brodeur’s mask and waved the stick back and forth in another attempt at distraction.


"I've been watching games for 33 years and I have never seen anything like that in my life," Brodeur told the New York Daily News. "If it's within the rules, it's within the rules. The official came over and said it probably wasn't something that should be done."

Monday, the League made sure it would not happen again as Senior Executive Vice President and Director of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell issued a statement about the League’s position.

It is considered an interpretation of Rule 75, concerning goaltender interference.

"An unsportsmanlike conduct minor penalty (Rule 75) will be interpreted and applied, effective immediately, to a situation when an offensive player positions himself facing the opposition goaltender and engages in actions such as waving his arms or stick in front of the goaltender's face, for the purpose of improperly interfering with and/or distracting the goaltender as opposed to positioning himself to try to make a play."
Blueshirt Heaven:
Marty the Mohel -- I had no idea Marty Brodeur was Jewish, no less a Mohel but after watching him try to involuntarily circumcise Sean Avery last night, it begs the question.

This morning Gary Bettman goes on WFAN and tells Boomer and Carton that Avery will be warned about taking liberties with poor, little, defenseless Marty Brodeur. Gary should look at the slow-mo of the altercation. If he did, he’d see that Brodeur exacerbated the hostility between himself and Mr. Avery by lifting his goal stick between Avery’s legs in an attempt to injure his manhood. But, since Gary is such shmekl, he wouldn’t know from manhood...

James Mirtle:
Bettman to institute Avery Rule -- Bettman said he discussed the matter with Colin Campbell, the NHL's senior vice president of hockey operations, on Sunday afternoon already. Their joint verdict: "It's something that we're going to address, probably in the realm of either goaltender interference, or unsportsmanlike conduct.

James Mirtle:
Avery Rule -- I know sometimes it seems as if all of the Sean Avery nonsense and coverage is overblown, but he's actually quite disliked throughout the league, and in a way that goes beyond that of the traditional Darcy Tucker/Jordin Tootoo type pests.

And I think that's part of the reason he won't be a Ranger next season.

TheStar, Canada:
Crosby among players baffled by Avery's antics -- Add the NHL's reigning MVP to the list of players annoyed by New York Rangers forward Sean Avery's bizarre antics New Jersey goaltender Martin Brodeur...

NHL amends unsportsmanlike conduct rule in response to Avery's antics

Spector's blog, Fox Sports:
The Sean Avery Rule -- With his back to the player and waving his stick around in that manner, he risked injuring Brodeur despite the netminder’s protective equipment, and could’ve clipped a teammate or an opponent in the face or head with his stick...

BlueShirts blog / NY Daily News:
Avery gets checked by NHL, Canada:
Avery in the news for all the wrong reasons, again -- The one issue beyond debate, of course, is that Sean Avery is also the most hated player around, at least outside of Manhattan and there are no doubt parts of New York that aren't entirely sure how they feel about him, either...

Globe and Mail, Canada:
Shoalts: Few allies for Avery -- Sean Avery's latest attention-getting gambit drew the usual amount of sympathy from other players around the NHL – none. No one thought the New York Ranger ...

The Dark Ranger:
Brodeur Not Amused By Avery's Chicken Dance -- Let 'em play Bettman...let 'em play!!!

Update: What the New York papers are saying on Tuesday (4/15) about the 'Sean Avery Rule' --
DEBATE: Did Sean Avery cross the line with his waving? --
Jim Baumbach: Avery took it too far...
Anthony Rieber: All is fair in love and hockey...
Antics Of Rangers' Avery Lead To Rules Change -- The Avery Directive isn't the latest Robert Ludlum novel. It was the buzz of the hockey world yesterday...

Daily News
Rangers Must Clean Up Their Act
NY Post
Brodeur Not Distracted By Avery's Antics
Journal News
NHL Changes Rule In Wake Of Avery's Actions
NY Times
Avery’s Strategy Draws Ire Of Devils
Sean Avery and Martin Broduer
"Marty, your breath just doesn't make it."
More on Avery: Ingenious or Idiotic? ...

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  • Anonymous said...

    Sean Avery gave Jagr herpes.

  • jb said...

    Bashing Avery is certainly easy. Everyone from the New York tabloids to internet trolls loves taking shots at him.

    But, consider that he is a smart player, who was "thinking outside the box" when he tried face-guarding Brodeur. No one in 91 years of the NHL had thought to try that tactic.

    Hockey needs personalities if it wants to draw a bigger audience. Having a so-called bad boy in the mix is not such a bad thing.

    Tennis, for example, is dying because you don't have hot headed bad boys like John McEnroe anymore, just mechanical Euro stroke machines. The NHL is also filling up with passionless Euro skating machines.

    People love a good story and you need both antagonists and protagonists for that. Avery certainly falls into tha "antagonist" camp.

  • Anonymous said...

    What about plyers that take purpose penalities with little to no time to serve out the pnetly toward the end of a game.

  • jb said...

    Good question. See Rule #56 Fisticuffs. Yes the NHL Rule book uses the term Fisticuffs.

    (NEW Rule for 2005-06) A player who is deemed to be the instigator of an altercation in the final five (5) minutes of regulation time or at any time in overtime, shall be assessed an instigator minor penalty, a major for fighting, a ten minute misconduct and an automatic one-game suspension. The length of suspension will double for each subsequent offense. In addition, the player's coach shall be fined $10,000 -- a fine that will double for each subsequent incident.

  • jb said...

    Heard Jim Rome of ESPN this afternoon and he was talking his usual smack. He called Sean Avery a "bush leaguer" for doing this face-guarding of Brodeur.

    However, as Blueshirt Haven pointed out Brodeur is not blameless in this altercation with Avery. They said:

    "Brodeur exacerbated the hostility between himself and Mr. Avery by lifting his goal stick between Avery’s legs in an attempt to injure his manhood."

    So again because it's Sean Avery, he's the one labeled the bush leaguer. But just like a couple of kids going at it - it takes two to tangle.

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