Sean Avery's 'Sloppy Seconds' Suspension Raises New Punishment Questions for the NHL

Just when you think that Sean Avery had lost his ability to shock, the man finds a way to up the ante. ↵
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↵For those of you who might have missed it, here's the video of Avery dropping the sort of crack that's normally reserved for the school yard -- one where he insults, by inference, ex-girlfriend Elisha Cuthbert and her new boyfriend, Calgary Flames defenseman Dion Phaneuf: ↵
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↵Acting with breathtaking speed, it only took a couple of hours for the league to suspend Avery indefinitely, an action that met with the approval of everyone in Dallas. Since the announcement, head coach Dave Tippett to co-GM Brett Hull and owner Tom Hicks have all issued statements signaling their approval. ↵

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↵Avery will now wait for a call from NHL HQ in New York, when he'll find out when he's scheduled to appear before the commissioner, or whoever else is going to be detailed with making an example out of him. ↵

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↵Which leads to the next question: what exactly do you do with Avery? Sure, we've established that he's an absolute jerk, but how many games are you going to suspend him for tossing schoolyard insults in public -- especially as the league seems to be predisposed to turning a blind eye to a cavalcade of questionable hits that could very well have put a premature end to the career of any number of players? ↵

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↵So what's the more heinous action: an admittedly distasteful comment aimed at an opponent and uttered before the cameras or an elbow delivered to the head of a helpless opponent with his back turned? ↵

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↵There was a time when that was an easy question to answer for a commissioner like Gary Bettman. I don't know exactly what it says about us that it isn't an easy question any longer. ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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