Sunday, August 7, 2011

NHL Reserving Judgment On Avery Sanctions; Embarrassment To Himself, Rangers Clear

Larry Brooks of the New York Post writes that NHL Deputy commissioner Bill Daly said the NHL is reserving judgment on the situation until it is resolved, but that the league is monitoring the situation.  Brooks adds that the NHL other than in drug-related cases has rarely imposed a suspension for acts that occur off the ice, including in 2000 when Ed Belfour assaulted a police officer and Dany Heatley in 2003 when he plead guilty to four misdemeanor charges that resulted from the car crash that killed Dan Snyder.

In terms of his standing with the Rangers, Brooks believes that this will have no impact because it will be completely based on whether he can be an effective producer for the club.  In some respects I agree with him because if he can produce they will likely look past this and while not defending the incident itself, find a place for him on the team.  However, if the decision on the roster is close, this incident only furthers Avery’s chances of being demoted to the minors.

The punishment Avery is going to take most from this is not from the NHL, but the embarrassment that Avery has brought to himself for the incident and how it allows those who have painted him as a villain to use this as evidence.  Prior to this, regardless of what you think of Avery as a player and how he goes about his job, Avery had never been in trouble with the law.  The other area of this is that the image of Avery had turned to some extent post rehabilitation, but that disappears now as well.  Now he has been and in a way that embarrasses him, and the New York Rangers.  

The biggest loser in this are those causes which Avery does want to use his celebrity to champion as he did in the past year with marriage equality in New York.  The diminishing of that stature, even if it ends up being a non-criminal matter could end up being the harshest punishment for Avery and all those he wanted to support.