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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    NHL Gets It Wrong Again

    The National Hockey League has fallen off the map in recent years in terms of popularity.

    The mainstream media has completely tuned out the game of Hockey in the United States.

    Care to tune into a game? See how long it takes you to find Versus on your local cable listings.

    Even with the new rules put into place to increase scoring, clamp down on the boring defensive hockey of the late 90’s that allowed guys to hold and grab and slow down the stars, the NHL still finds itself getting lower ratings than the World Series of Poker.

    Insert a charismatic (in my opinion, I’m sure the majority of the people who know anything about hockey will use a much different adjective to describe him) player who has some skill like Sean Avery into the mix.

    Avery has been seen as a malcontent as far back as his playing days in Los Angeles. He once refused to practice with the Kings and was sent home.

    In February of ’07 he was traded to the New York Rangers and his stardom grew ten-fold.

    Once on Broadway, Avery found himself the key component of two Rangers teams that went to the second round of the playoffs. That was in between attending fashion shows and taking a summer internship at Vogue.

    Avery is a man who marches to a different beat.

    One of his former girlfriends, Rachel Hunter is reportedly linked to NHL player Jarrett Stoll.

    His most recent girlfriend, Elisha Cuthbert, the Canadian beauty who starred in the ‘Girl Next Door’ and ’24,’ is now dating Calgary Flames defenseman Dion Phaneuf.

    Before Tuesday’s game between Avery’s new team, the Dallas Stars, and the Flames, Avery called all the reporters in the locker room around him.

    Avery, also known to be a pain to reporters, like last year down the stretch in New York when he refused to speak for weeks at a time, had an agenda to get across.

    “I’m really happy to be back in Calgary; I love Canada,” Avery said. “I just want to comment on how it’s become like a common thing in the NHL for guys to fall in love with my sloppy seconds. I don’t know what that’s about, but enjoy the game tonight.”

    Within hours Commissioner Gary Bettman had handed down an indefinite suspension. Every commentator from Miami to Vancouver scrutinized Avery for being such a terrible member of society and a burden on the game of hockey.

    This from a sport that has seen more than on incident in which players have fought fans during or after a game, a sport that has it’s share of violent hits to the head and up until recently saw every team employ a resident enforcer who’s job it was to take out anyone who dared to throw even a clean hit on his teams best player.

    This after a weekend in New York when the man who caught the winning touchdown pass in the Super Bowl illegally carried a gun into a crowed night club and shot himself in the leg! It took three days to sort out the Plaxico Burress was to be suspended. Avery was disciplined in about three hours.

    A day after the most talented player on the Knicks was finally banished after refusing a direct order from his coach to help out his undermanned team.

    By far, this is the biggest NHL story of the last month or so. Who wouldn’t have tuned into watch Dallas and Calgary battle it out on the ice that night? Who wouldn’t want to see if Phanuef would find a way to level the “super-pest” with one of his patented bone-crushing open ice hits?

    Instead the NHL overreacted and tried to take the moral higher ground.

    Bettman should pay more attention to the real problems of the game, like the illegal hits knocking its stars out, the lack of interest in many markets in the United States that may soon cripple the game economically, or even how a New York team doesn’t have an arena that a high school team would want to play its games in.

    Let the personal battles play out on the ice, it’s obviously what the people want to see if you look at the outburst of interest that followed this story.

    The worst thing about the NHL is that most people wouldn’t even have been able to see the Stars and Flames battle it out because the game has been so poorly marketed and Bettman signed up for a horrendous television contract that keeps most American viewers in the dark.

    Let the free spirits like Avery roam free, and let the players take care of the issues on the ice. Bettman should be thankful that he doesn’t have to worry about players carrying guns and refusing to honor their contracts.

    Instead he spends his time overreacting and trying to put his stamp on a game that is struggling because of his over management and stupid business decisions.

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