When Sean Avery Is The Bigger Person

Hey there, all. I’m Act, and I’ll be typing mercilessly about hockey (mostly) and baseball (when the hockey season ends; hockey players tend to be better looking). I back the Rangers and Mets respectively, but above all am a fan of both sports. And sabermetrics. I love my statistics.

I’m also one-half of your Friday posting team.

Anyway, a time-honored NHL tradition is that after every playoff series, no matter how brutal or long, the players put aside their grudges and adrenaline, and line up on the rink and shake each other’s hands. Usually, players who have played together before will embrace. The whole thing is really very nice, and what sportsmanship is all about.

(Somewhere on the internet there is a picture of Henrik Lundqvist and Jaromir Jagr after Sweden beat the Czech Republic in Turino looking like they’re about to kiss during the handshake. I lament that I cannot find it. But imagine it here.)

Though, apparently, this doesn’t apply if you’re Martin Brodeur.

The antics between Avery and Brodeur have been no secret during this series (and my opinion on the Avery Rule is a whole other article), and date back to last year when Brodeur came out of the crease, shoved Avery, so Avery whirled around and punched him. Both players were penalized, and Avery made it his mission to annoy the living hell out of Broduer.

Avery is an annoying player, much in the same vein of Donald Brashear, Jarkko Ruutu, Darius Kasparaitis, and even the Devils’ own David Clarkson. He’s never been a headhunter, but always was, frankly, an asshole. You love him if he’s on your team, and if he’s on the other team you despise him.

He does have a tendency to get in teams’ heads, though, and that’s what he did in the Rangers-Devils series. The Devils became so concerned with Sean Avery and company rushing Brodeur (as Renney said, “Both teams play hard. The net is the end point. What are we supposed to do, just stand off to the side and throw pucks at him? It’s not the way the game’s played. Both teams and 16 teams are doing the same thing.”) that winning the series seemed to become almost secondary. Brodeur wanted so badly to goad the refs into interference calls that he occasionally seemed to have forgotten to goaltend. To be sure, the goal that sealed the Devils elimination happened because Johnny Oduya was so concerned with wrestling Avery that he didn’t notice the puck between his legs. Gomez did, took it, and scored. What Avery does may foster hate, but it works.

Yet, even Avery knows not to snub one of the NHL’s traditions. He shook Clarkson’s hand, though he later told MSG’s John Giannone that Clarkson wasn’t actually a very good player. He’s not exactly the class of the NHL, but he works so well because he’s selective with his venom.

Brodeur has always been a bit dramatic, and coach Sutter has always been a hothead, but honestly, the Devils front office should be ashamed of their team’s behavior in this series. Between Sutter’s temper tantrum in Game 2 in which he broke a stick and threw it on to the ice after a non-call (the only explanation for why he wasn’t penalized was that the ref knew he blew the call, and even this isn’t a great excuse), Brodeur’s throwing himself on the ground after getting clipped outside the crease by Jagr on a Ranger’s power play just so he could stop play during a long possession, and Brodeur’s final refusal to acknowledge Avery even when Avery was obviously willing to shake hands with him, the Devils came out looking childish.

And really, all Brodeur did was turn himself into the biggest of hypocrites. He spent a series deriding Avery for unsportsmanlike conduct to a point that Colin Campbell changed the conduct rule, and then lowered himself to something not even Avery would do to prove his point. In a fit of either egomania, immaturity, or both, Brodeur just couldn’t accept that Avery had his number.

“Everyone talks about how much class I don’t have,” Avery said, his first comments to the press the entire series. “Well it’s the end of the series and men go to war against each other. I guess he forgot to shake my hand. I don’t know if anyone saw that. Of course I was going to shake his hand.”

“I just shook everybody’s hand but one,” said Brodeur.

Things aren’t going well when Sean Avery can call you classless and be completely and utterly correct.

(I swear, not all of my posts will be so serious.)

19 thoughts on “When Sean Avery Is The Bigger Person

  1. Won’t lie, as a Ranger fan, the ‘fatso’ comment was absolutely hilarious. So were the David Clarkson comments. I don’t know if they’re in that video, but poor John Giannone. xD

    Objectively, though, it’s vintage “Sean Avery trying to piss people off.” It was a crappy thing to do, but then again, does that justify doing crappy things back? Ehh.

  2. Ahh, hockey!angst. Way more entertaining than most kinds of angst!

    I know little to nothing about hockey and how it’s played, but they look like they’re fencing with their sticks, there. Not too far off, maybe.

  3. Thanks to your post, I knew this info. before Weed. I don’t know what this says about professional hockey, but it can’t be good.

  4. Since when is rushing the crease disrespect? Avery may flap his gums a lot, but he didn’t do anything against any rules, and Brodeur has always played high in the crease; when you play high, you get hit. Brodeur doesn’t get exempt, despite what Colin Campbell thinks.

    What Avery did was annoying and borderline crazy, but Brodeur spent an entire series whining about Avery’s behavior and then did something worse. (Never mind that nothing Avery did even compares to Sutter’s behavior. That was inexcusable.)

  5. Actually, that snub was a MUTUAL snub. I called Avery on it.

    The pictures, etc. from Getty Images, etc. only show one angle of the footage. I caught it from upstairs in the press box. It shows that Avery wasn’t the bigger man in this instance. He snubbed Brodeur as well.

    If he had been all classy, he would have gone ahead and extended his hand to Brodeur. He didn’t. He can talk all he wants about being the bigger man, but technically, the bigger man does not snub the other guy, too. He would have extended his hand to Brodeur…and then if Brodeur still snubbed him, then he has every right to talk trash about Marty.

    But that wasn’t the case.

    I am completely unbiased in the matter between the two teams, but what Avery said in the locker room (which I heard with my own ears) and the picture that came from my camera speak totally different stories.

    I had the proof, so I called Avery on it:


  6. Ehh, I disagree. I’ve watched it several times. Avery looked at Brodeur and kind of started to lean in, and Marty had his head down and stomped right past. I think Avery saw that Brodeur didn’t intend to shake and probably thought, “Oh, I’ll have a field day with this one.”

    Had Brodeur extended his hand, I don’t doubt Avery would have shook. It goes back to the David Clarkson principle.

  7. Im not talking about rushing the crease. Im talking about all the bullshit trash talking and especially that shit that spurned a new rule “interpretation”.

    This “bigger man” stuff is bullshit. He’s an incredible asshole, and everyone knows it.

    It’s simple really: Devil-Haters/Ranger fans see it one way, everyone else sees it another way.

  8. No one’s denying that Avery’s a pest. It’s what he’s paid for. And honestly, the stick-waving thing wasn’t against the rules. It just wasn’t. I’m actually surprised he was the first one to think of it.

    But for Brodeur to whine and moan all series and then act like an ass himself is the issue. Everyone thinks Avery’s a jerk. He is. I’m sure if I ever met him, I’d hate him. But if Brodeur’s going to be just as– if not more– immature, he should at least keep his trap shut (not to mention that Avery didn’t spend the series flopping around the crease looking for interference calls and throwing sticks on the ice.)

  9. He’s beyond a pest, more like “cheap asshole who resorts to bush league tactics to make his presence felt”. It does work, Im not arguing that. And I didn’t say it was against the rules. But there is nothing respectable about it.

    You are also exaggerating about how much Marty “whined” about it.

  10. Brodeur whined enough to get the official rulebook changed mid-series (which, by the by, was more unsportsmanlike than anything Avery’s ever done). I also don’t know how much of that series you watched, but Brodeur was no angel. He was getting words in himself, and could have been called for diving at least twice more than he was. To make him out as some kind of hero is ludicrous.

    Avery got in Brodeur’s head, and Brodeur couldn’t take it. Avery’s not out there to be a respectable player. But (and to repeat for the third time) if Brodeur is going to complain about Avery, he shouldn’t be doing the same thing. He did.

  11. I watched a bit…

    Nothing is more unsportsmanlike than that face-guarding thing.

    I didn’t make Brodeur out to be a hero in the series, he definitely wasn’t that, as evidenced by his terrible play. You basically “put words in my mouth.”

    That he’s always been dramatic is complete bullshit too.

    I have my opinion, you have yours, and we will never see eye to eye.

    Nice talking to you. I’m leaving work now. Goodbye.

  12. I think Brodeur’s punching Avery during it was on par. But eh. (And meh, I’ve been watching him intra-division for a good long time now, and he enjoys a good fit from time to time. Never before like this, but he has it in him.)

    Heh, I do love a good debate, won’t lie. I’m cool with agreeing to disagree, but if you ever wish to take it up again, feel free to drop me an e-mail.

  13. You’re okay, New Lady, for a Ranger fan :)

    I respect you for not backing down. Thanks for going toe to toe with me, but I’ll pass on continuing our disagreement…we’ve probably spent too much time thinking about it already!

  14. “When Sean Avery Is The Bigger Person” – hahaha…this is pretty funny. I think time answered this argument….Lets see: 1) Sean avery, suspended again, can barely find a team that will let him play in the NHL even after attending ‘anger management’. 2) Brodeur, although injured, still commands respect across the league, HOF bound, and often naed the best (and one of the classiest) goalies in the NHL.

  15. This is complete bullshit. Sean Avery is a disrespectful douchebag who had an axe to grind with the greatest and most classy goalie of all time. I wouldn’t have shaken Avery’s hand either after what a grade A tool bag he was in the playoffs.

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