Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Is Sean Avery good for hockey?

Of course he is.

The clips of Avery's windshield-wiping have been shown everywhere countless times, even in places where they don't do much hockey - like CBS-2 in NY.

There were two days between Games 3 and 4 of the Rangers-Devils series. As it is, even with the Devils making it 2-1, the series is still not even close to being the talk of the town. (Oh goodie: the Yankees are playing the Red Sox...again). Because of Avery's antics, they were talking hockey the other day on the Michael Kay Show. And Michael Kay was hosting!

Consider the insane quantity and inane quality of coverage Terrell Owens gets. Now ask yourself again: is Sean Avery good for hockey?

Fact is, the NHL could use more of him.

The next question is, would you want Sean Avery on your team?

To that one, I don't think you can answer with an unequivocal yes.

Avery turned out to be a godsend for the Rangers, who needed an injection of something, anything when they got him from LA for a box of pucks. To be fair to Kings GM Dean Lombardi, that was Avery's value by then. Give credit to the Rangers for having the guts, and to Tom Renney for agreeing to take him on.

MSG was the perfect place for him. Avery's act probably wouldn't play in Columbus and he seems to need the bright lights to stay interested (besides the Garden press machine, Sean is known to have his own personal PR firm). In Brendan Shanahan, a teammate in Detroit, the Rangers had a respected veteran to glare at him when necessary.

It was a marriage made in hockey heaven. Whether it eventually turns out to be the equivalent of making a deal with the devil, we shall see. Even if it does, the Rangers made a heckuva deal.

The question will be posed to Garth Snow at tonight's Town Hall: do the Islanders have a need for an agitator, their Sean Avery?

It's a fair question, although Avery is one-of-a-kind. Face facts: Sean Avery is a big reason why the Rangers clinched a playoff berth in game 80. After an ineffective playoff last spring against Buffalo, he's been one of his team's MVPs so far in the Devils series.

And he's given the series some jam that the league, and New York, really needed.


Dominik said...

Hmmm, I think "good for hockey" and "good for the NHL" are two different things.

If circus acts like Avery create more buzz and revenue for the NHL, yay for them. He obviously is good for the Rangers. But for the sport itself? Hmmm.

As a fan who has zero financial interest in the NHL's business success, I find Avery does nothing for me (nor did he in Detroit or Los Angeles). Not to sound sanctimonious, but this is my honest feeling: Players like Avery detract from my enjoyment of the NHL.

So do I wish there were more Averys -- or more Don Cherrys -- just so the sport would be more popular and thus would have more mainstream talking heads like Chris Berman gabbing about it the way they do for other sports? No, no, and no.

Do I want to be accompanied to an NHL game by someone who was drawn to it by Avery's act? Not at all.

Again, I don't mean to sound preachy, and I realize I am likely in the minority on this, but there are indeed fans like me who believe there are other ways to build buzz for the game than by stooping to the lowest common denominator. There is plenty of drama and reality TV on the other channels...

islesfan said...

Sorry, but Avery is just an embarassment. We (as hockey fans) suffer incessant comments comparing our great sport to Pro Wrestling. Every time something like this happens, we just fall further and further. Now, fights, those belong in the game. Even the occasional Chris Simon incident can be withstood, since hockey is a tough game, and tempers flare. What Avery does, however, is nothing better than a circus clown. He jumps up and down saying "look at me," but he'll never drop the gloves like a man.

Let me be clear, I'm glad the Isles dropped Simon, and I am glad the Rangers have Avery (if someone must have him, at least it is the Rangers who can suffer the embarassment). Bottom line, however, is not all publicity is good publicity!