Sean Avery is getting sloppy seconds from Nick Lidstrom and Pavel Datsyuk. Avery's suspension is no longer the dumbest in the history of the league.
In case you missed it, the NHL suspended Lidstrom and Datsyuk for a game apiece for the dastardly sin of missing the All Star game, not having an injury by the league's definition, and not attending the festivities. The best part? Both guys actually are injured! Just not by the league's standard.
Based on the NHL's criteria, for a player to miss the All Star game and use injury as an excuse, that player has to have missed his team's last game before the All Star break. Datsyuk was injured during Detroit's last game, but since he played in the contest he wasn't eligible to use injury as an excuse for not playing. Because that makes a ton of sense.
Lidstrom has been battling tendinitis and an elbow injury and was hoping to use the long weekend to recuperate and be ready to play in the second half. Ya know, for the team that pays his salary.
So if you're keeping track, the league just suspended a defenseman who has not taken a major penalty in his career (which might be the most amazing stat I've ever heard) as well as the three-time defending Lady Byng Trophy winner.
Sidney Crosby, on the other hand, played in Pittsburgh's most recent game, isn't playing in the All Star Game due to injury, but won't be suspended because he'll be in Montreal taking in the event. Because I'm sure he'll be mingling with fans the entire time and won't be holed up in a private suite, no sir. He'll be growing the game non-stop the entire weekend.
Personally, I think they should make Crosby participate in a new Skills Challenge event called "Cross-Check Sidney Crosby in the Face", but that's just me. Or they could have him fight Alexander Semin to see who can look like a bigger pansy in the process.
But back to the issue at hand: This isn't the NFL's Pro Bowl, where no one really wants to play. I've never really noticed an issue with attendance at the NHL All Star Game. Datsyuk, in fact, was so happy to see his jersey that he referred to it as a Russian Christmas present. And the league actually apologized for the fact that they had to suspend Lidstrom, since he's played in so many of these things over the years.
What freaking sense does this make? Don't they understand that sometimes a guy is dinged up, willing to play in real games because that's what they're getting paid to do, but perhaps they'd like a little R & R over playing in an exhibition that no one is watching? And that maybe they'd rather spend the long weekend in Florida than watching said exhibition game?
Is Crosby really helping the hockey world that much by just being there? What good is Datsyuk going to do by attending? He doesn't speak French. He barely speaks English. It's not like he's going to do a ton of interviews or anything.
It also really amuses me that the suspension is because they want the best players playing in he ASG for the fans to be able to see them. (Because the league is so fan friendly.) And yet, the fans who paid to see the Red Wings take on the Blue Jackets next week will be denied an opportunity to see two of the best players the game has to offer, because they're suspended. What a great idea! You sure showed the players that the fans should come first at all times! It's like suspending a kid for skipping school. And if you don't come to school again, more days off school for you young man!
It also makes it that much more funny that Avery got suspended for conduct detrimental to the league. If we're preventing people from working for being detrimental to the game of hockey, I'm pretty sure Gary Bettman should never be employed again.
The stupidity of this league is mind-numbing.