Well, Gary Bettman took his sweet time, but the announcement came out today that Sean Avery has indeed been suspended by the NHL for the comments he made earlier in the week before the Dallas Stars game against the Calgary Flames.
The fact that the comment was made in the media rather than on the ice was the major factor in Bettman’s decision to suspend Avery. Bettman had previously warned Avery in a meeting this past spring that he was perilously close to crossing the line and that he would need to be careful going forward. Apparently Bettman’s warning fell on deaf ears. No big surprise there.
In addition to the suspension, Sean Avery has been ordered to undergo professional anger management evaluation. In my opinion this is a bit of a strange request as I don’t think anger is Avery’s problem. Everything he does is coldly calculated to get under the skin of his opponents.
Now that the NHL has made its decision it will be interesting to see what, if any, additional punishment the Dallas Stars impose upon Avery. Judging from the reaction of everyone in the Dallas organization, from the players right up to owner, Tom Hicks, Avery will be lucky if six games is all he misses. Perhaps now that a few days have passed the club’s anger and embarrassment over the situation has faded and they will relent, but it is unlikely that Avery will get an invite when the boys go out for beers.