The NHL has all kinds of players.
Some are skilled scorers.
Some are in your face competitors.
Some are there just to throw punches.
Sean Avery is a rare breed. He posses a little bit of each of these qualities, which in today's NHL makes him a valuable member to his team...well...on most night's anyway.
Yesterday Avery proved again why even though he can be an effective player on a few different levels...he can also behave like a complete idiot and in the process, make his team, their city and the league look bad.
When he was called out, in a way that abides by the "rules of engagement" within the NHL (as crazy as that sounds) by Lady Smid, he had to choose one of two responses that also abides by those rules.
2) decline the fight
What Avery did was cowardice. He declined the fight until Smid thought they weren't going to fight...then he decided to take a sucker punch at a guy who wasn't ready.
Maybe it's all part of Avery's "master plan" that ensures he will continue to be effective in his role. Guys like him, they need other players and fans to despise them in order to do their job the right way...and this kind of move certainly will help that to continue.
Or maybe, just maybe, he crossed the line for the last time.
It will be interesting to see if Avery, a repeat offender, will be disciplined by the league for his actions. Certainly, there are a lot of people that feel he should be.
Even more interesting will be to see what type of reaction, if any, this gets from other players during games played the rest of the season. While the Oilers and Rangers don't meet again during the regular season...and it's highly unlikely we would see these two teams in a Cup final, Smid MUST have some friends on other teams that face the Rangers in what's left of this season. Surely one of them might like to even the score with Mr. Avery.
P.S. I would like to go on record by saying I don't agree with the way Crosby has handled some of his fights either. While he hasn't done anything exactly like this (what Avery did) before, he has tried to catch guys before they are ready...which to me is not the way it should be done.