Monday, April 14, 2008

The 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.

In the clip, Marty Brodeur obviously wants him to stop, and gives him a push and a chop with his stick, the ref is telling him to cut it out and even teammate Chris Drury comes over, during the power play, to tell him to play it straight.

In any event, I don't think we'll have to worry about it happening again or the potential ramifications that Ron Maclean gets into: Tom Renney and players like Drury and Brendan Shanahan won't have any of this.

Andy Grabia is looking for a reason why this shouldn't be allowed, and it's fairly simple: If it's a part of the game, it is for everyone, and this isn't anything anyone wants to be made a widespread phenomenon. Imagine seeing this in front of the net on every power play?

For one, it's a dangerous tactic to be waving the lumber around that close to another athlete's face, and more importantly, it's an antic that detracts from the quality of the game being played.

In what way is it fair to a goaltender? This is a play that redefines "unsportsmanlike."
"I've been watching games for 33 years and I have never seen anything like that in my life," Brodeur said. "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."
"Nobody should have to play hockey with a stick an inch from your face," Brodeur said. "But it wasn't a bad play. While he was doing it, I couldn't see anything. The two misses were just luck, I couldn't see a thing."
"I'm trying to get to the puck, it's a five-on-three," Brodeur said. "I'm trying to just look around and it's almost impossible because his stick's so close to my face and his hands. ... I think this kind of behavior in front of the net isn't really something that should be done."
The league will outlaw it soon. Call it the Sean Avery Rule.
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29 Comments:

At 2:42 AM, April 14, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Was Martine Brodeur always such a whiny byatch?

 
At 2:54 AM, April 14, 2008, Blogger KMS2 said...

My brother and I are probably the only two Avery fans left and even I thought what he did was unsportsmanlike. Throughout the entire game the announcers kept talking about how Avery had his toes on the lines but he never crossed it, but I think he crossed it with that play.

Washington could learn a thing from Avery (and Smyth and Holmstrom) and place someone in front of Biron during the power play.

 
At 8:02 AM, April 14, 2008, Blogger FAUX RUMORS said...

1) We're NOT Avery fans, but as long as his stick doesn't come in contact with anyone AND he's outside the crease it should NOT be disallowed.
2) Allow defensemen to "clear the crease" as they did before the 'new NHL" and you'll see a bit less of that without any silly new rules.

 
At 8:19 AM, April 14, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is nothing in the rules against being an irritant - in fact, there are a lot of players that make their living doing just that.

It's dangerous to turn your back on the puck - if he persists then he'll get a shot to the back of the legs and might think better of his tactic.

 
At 8:46 AM, April 14, 2008, Blogger Lion said...

Reading the rulebook, you could call this unsportsmanlike conduct. "A misconduct penalty shall be imposed on any player who persists in any course of conduct (including threatening or abusive language or gestures or similar actions) designed to incite an opponent into incurring a penalty." I agree, though, that officials should be given more latitude to whistle blatent attempts to undermine the integrity of the sport.

 
At 9:42 AM, April 14, 2008, Blogger Chemmy said...

I think all Brodeur needs to do is cleverly dive in said situation.

 
At 10:12 AM, April 14, 2008, Anonymous Andy said...

**Tom Renney and players like Drury and Brendan Shanahan won't have any of this. **

I disagree, Shannie is the type of guy that would egg on a melon head like that, and it is too late for Renney to take the high road, he should have benched Avery. Drury was worried about an impending penalty and had nothing to do with being a good sport.

He might not be a Ranger next season, but but make no mistake, the likes of Renny Shanahan and Drury are happy that Avery is not a NJ Devil right now.

 
At 10:21 AM, April 14, 2008, Anonymous John Richardson said...

All you need to know about Sean Avery is this: when he was playing in the OHL, the rookies on his team hotboxed him and not a single veteran player came to his aid.

 
At 10:38 AM, April 14, 2008, Blogger poploser said...

The league wont have to do anything. The fact that his teammate (Drury) had to come over and say something to him, and this controversy, will mean his team won't let him do it again.

But, in truth, this is silly. There are 23049820498234 things the league should be concerned about. A silly guy waving his stick in front of a goalie ONCE is not one of them. Watch the actual action on the ice, and you'll see that the NYR-NJD series is getting rough, and sticks and elbows are coming up more regularly.

And, if people don't think the NYR want him back because of the "controversy", they are nuts. He has 3 goals already this series.
With Avery in the lineup, the Rangers are 32-14-9, a .664 points-winning percentage. Without him, they are 9-13-3, a .420 points-winning percentage

In games in which Avery scored a goal this season, the NYR are 8-1-3, .792. When Avery picks up at least 1 point, the Rangers has a 15-6-3 record, a .688.

Some players fit teams better than others. The NYR have been a better team with Avery than without him since his acquisition. So long as Avery is reasonable in his contract demands, the NYR will jump to sign him, long-term.

 
At 11:08 AM, April 14, 2008, Anonymous Ryan said...

Waving a stick around anybody's head, whether goalie or player, should obviously not be allowed for obvious reasons. It's unsafe, it's unsportsmanlike, and it's completely ridiculous.

 
At 11:21 AM, April 14, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is against the rules

60.1 High-sticking - A “high stick” is one which is carried above the height
of the opponent’s shoulders.

The ref was correct in telling him to quit it.

 
At 11:39 AM, April 14, 2008, Blogger Doogie said...

I agree, though, that officials should be given more latitude to whistle blatent attempts to undermine the integrity of the sport.

See, this is what gets me. Under what circumstances does this undermine the "integrity of the sport"? I heard the same hooting on TSN last night, and I just don't get it. The most you can say about it is that it's annoying and that it might be dangerous, but like I said on the BOA comment thread, Marty needs to put on his big-girl panties and play through it. Being an obnoxious distraction is what Avery does, and while I think he's a complete ass, I also don't see how you can specifically target this to outlaw. It's clearly effective, and it's not like they call USC on trash-talk more than once or twice a year, and usually because the game's already getting out of hand and the refs want to keep a brawl from breaking out.

Mind you, it's still not as dumb as the mirrored-visor thing. That was embarrassing.

 
At 12:00 PM, April 14, 2008, Blogger Sean said...

Give him a couple games and its a matter of time before he takes a puck in the spine or neck, he isnt watching the puck and there is no protection back there. He'll learn.

 
At 12:07 PM, April 14, 2008, Blogger Jeremy said...

But what if his stick had nothing to do with it, and he was just aggressively getting in Brodeur's face without the stick? I call it good strategy, especially on a 5-on-3 when you can afford to have one guy tying up the goalie. Brodeur "wanting him to stop" is kind of comical, isn't it? Doesn't that simply mean that Avery's doing his job?

Volleyball has a "screening" rule that disallows the serving team's players from moving around at the net to block the receiving team's view of the server. It's probably a good rule, but how would you ever enforce it in hockey? Screening the goalie has always been good strategy -- Avery was being a jerk, but it's not much different than what Ryan Smyth has been doing his entire career. In the grey area between those two, how would you differentiate an infraction?

 
At 12:24 PM, April 14, 2008, Blogger James Mirtle said...

The league's going to outlaw it, end of story. It affects the integrity of the game because it impedes the goaltender's ability to play; obviously players are allowed to stand strategically in front of the net, but waving objects directly in his line of sight?

It just makes for a sideshow. What's next? Taking off his jersey and using it to obstruct the goalie's view?

So long as Avery is reasonable in his contract demands, the NYR will jump to sign him, long-term.

Why on earth would you think he'd have reasonable contract demands? The Rangers are getting up against the cap and Avery's headed to the highest bidder.

 
At 12:28 PM, April 14, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Brodeur moves his head forward into the idiot's stick, Would a high-sticking penalty be called as players are responsible for control of their sticks? Outlaw this nonsense while it is still a novelty. I'm pretty sure this would be a less discresionary ref's call than others like "diving"

 
At 12:31 PM, April 14, 2008, Blogger Hawerchuk said...

As much as I think Avery is a moron, this just doesn't bother me. Hits from behind, hits in the head, kicking and stomping - those are the kinds of things the NHL needs to get rid of. Then they can worry about Avery acting like an idiot.

Every time I think anything's out of hand in the NHL at the moment, I go to Youtube and watch some highlights of Steve Durbano's illustrious career...Or watch the Flames-Jets game where Tim Hunter skates over to the Jets bench and Jets coach Rick Bowness punches him in the head...

 
At 12:47 PM, April 14, 2008, Anonymous E said...

james, love your blog but i have to disagree with you 100%.

i don't think avery is going to the highest bidder. the rangers will give him $3-$4 mil a year. maybe even more depending on the rest of these playoffs.

with respect to the cap, the rangers will have a lot of room when (hopefully) shanny and straka retire. in addition, who knows whether jagr will resign? also, the cap will higher next year.

 
At 1:02 PM, April 14, 2008, Anonymous mc keeper said...

I bet Avery would take a little less to stay with the Rangers - he seems to like the bright lights of Broadway and the things that go along with it (Elisha Cuthbert !)

That said, he is still an a$$clown.

 
At 1:05 PM, April 14, 2008, Blogger poploser said...

James:

Why on earth would you think he'd have reasonable contract demands? The Rangers are getting up against the cap and Avery's headed to the highest bidder.

I think you're obvious distate for Avery is clouding your judgment a bit. I dont believe Avery will have reasonable demands at all. I think he'll be looking for well over 4 million a year, for a long-term deal, which I do think is unreasonable. It will be interesting to see what the NYR do. He is a big draw for the team off the ice, and if he continues to have such a winning record, then he will have a lot more bargaining power than last year.

The league's going to outlaw it, end of story.

You're right, and they should. But lets tell the truth here - its not because "It affects the integrity of the game because it impedes the goaltender's ability to play".

The NHL will ban it because "It just makes for a sideshow."

And all this continued discussion is just another part of the sideshow. It distracts from the real issues the NHL should be dealing with - like actual hits to the head.

 
At 1:06 PM, April 14, 2008, Blogger Kel said...

By the way, I remember Bertuzzi once tried to block the view of the goaltender by deliberately putting his hand in front of the goalie's eyes. After two seconds (and no physical contact), Bertuzzi was called for goaltender interference. (By the way, that was a long time ago before Steve Moore played his first NHL game, so it had nothing to do with reputation.)

 
At 1:13 PM, April 14, 2008, Blogger Bruce said...

With this action Avery is exposing more than the fact he's a complete (if talented) jackass. The ex-goalie perspective is that if he's pulling that stunt around my crease, I'm bringing the pointy end of the big paddle up and am going to hit him in the junk as hard as I can and as often as it takes. Would even be worth a GA. That's one way to bring his stick down. Take that, you @$$#()|€!!

That aside, it is clearly goaltender interference. They call the exact same thing in football if the pass defender doesn't play the ball and waves his arms in front of the receiver, even if he gets knocks down the pass by getting nothing but ball it's pass interference. I think the term is "faceguarding".

 
At 1:21 PM, April 14, 2008, Blogger James Mirtle said...

You're right, and they should. But lets tell the truth here - its not because "It affects the integrity of the game because it impedes the goaltender's ability to play".

The NHL will ban it because "It just makes for a sideshow."


It's the same thing. It's a sideshow partly because it affects the goaltender's ability to play, and has little to do with the game itself.

It's a garbage tactic, fit for the bush leagues.


And all this continued discussion is just another part of the sideshow. It distracts from the real issues the NHL should be dealing with - like actual hits to the head.


Oh, right, the NHL's not banning hits to the head because we're all busy discussing something that happened last night for the first time.

We're discussing it, the NHL will ban it, and it's onto the next thing.

 
At 3:35 PM, April 14, 2008, Blogger Doogie said...

The league's going to outlaw it, end of story. It affects the integrity of the game because it impedes the goaltender's ability to play; obviously players are allowed to stand strategically in front of the net, but waving objects directly in his line of sight?

It just makes for a sideshow. What's next? Taking off his jersey and using it to obstruct the goalie's view?


See, that just doesn't strike me as a compelling argument. I'm really not seeing how this is any different than standard screening or trash-talk, or how it can be lumped in with crashing the goalie. The slippery-slope argument is also kind of weak, though at the heart lies the NHL's justification, anyway, i.e. "Gary doesn't like it" (see also the Rob Ray Rule).

What can I say? I think it's clever and I'm not a huge Brodeur fan anyway, so I think it's actually kinda funny. And Bruce is right, it's not like anyone pulled that shit on Billy Smith or Ron Hextall, because they knew they would get a stick in the junk.

Every time I think anything's out of hand in the NHL at the moment, I go to Youtube and watch some highlights of Steve Durbano's illustrious career...Or watch the Flames-Jets game where Tim Hunter skates over to the Jets bench and Jets coach Rick Bowness punches him in the head...

This is perfectly true. It's insane some of the things that happened in the League 20, 30, 40 years ago, generally with few repercussions. I could add to that the Habs-Bruins brawl that went under the stands at the Garden (or the one that went into them), a Ranger player throwing Bernie Parent's mask into the stands at MSG around 1970, the Mike Milbury shoe thing, as well as all manner of cheap shots that would get guys suspended today, but didn't even qualify for a two-minute penalty if the score happened to be close in a playoff game. This seems like a relatively minor thing to get all worked up over.

 
At 3:47 PM, April 14, 2008, Blogger poploser said...

Oh, right, the NHL's not banning hits to the head because we're all busy discussing something that happened last night for the first time. We're discussing it, the NHL will ban it, and it's onto the next thing.


As a fan, its very frustrating to see the NHL leap into action on something so trivial, when these other issues are ignored.

Since you are more in the know than me (and Im not being sarcastic here), where is "Hits to the Head" on the list of "next things" the NHL is rushing to address? Is it before or after "introduction of another set of 3rd jerseys for marketing purposes"? (I am being sarcastic here).

 
At 9:31 AM, April 15, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Devils were trying to kill off a 5 on 3 when Avery pulled his stunt. Based on the way this series has been called so far (that is, poorly), if any of the Devils had done anything to Avery, they'd have gotten 2 minutes. How would that have been helpful?

 
At 9:58 AM, April 15, 2008, Blogger MikeP said...

Hawerchuk: "As much as I think Avery is a moron, this just doesn't bother me. Hits from behind, hits in the head, kicking and stomping - those are the kinds of things the NHL needs to get rid of."

Why can't the league move to get rid of all of those at once? Hits from behind are already against the rules, so are kicking and stomping.

 
At 5:07 PM, April 15, 2008, Blogger 7th Woman said...

James: I'm glad to see you received the same type of response I did. I can't believe how many of those out there defended such childish behavior. You wouldn't see that sort of thing in Pee Wee hockey, how can you see it in the NHL. Hockey has a tradition of sportsmanship in a brutal game. Avery doesn't know the meaning of the word.

 
At 2:02 AM, April 17, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the old days you wouldn't have needed a rule against as he would
have had to be carried
off the ice.
You don't do this!
Sure you can screen the goalie but he was doing
much more that!
His day will come!
Behavior like this does
not belong in the NHL.

 

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