You want find me saying this often, but I stand by Brodeur in his decision to not shake hands with the notorious pest, Sean Avery. The handshake is meant to show respect to one another after a hard fought series of the most demanding games of the year. Personally, I only think you should show respect for someone if you honestly have it. Avery does not respect anyone at all, and if you don't agree with me, how about what happened right after the goal horn sounded? Avery went right over to the crowd, entertaining some fans' comments to the Rangers, and Avery skates over and responds with a very respectful F- you.
After just defeating the Devils and eliminating them from the playoffs, is that common courtesy to skate over to their fans and curse them out? Fans are fans and will always say what's on their mind, but when you're supposed to be a professional you're not supposed to care or acknowledge what they have to say. Avery did, exemplifying his lack of class. He also didn't show any class when he screened Brodeur like a fool with his stick and hands. Sure, at the time it wasn't against the rules, but it was incredibly unsportsmanlike, forcing the league to make a new adaptation to the rule the very next day.
He's had numerous run-ins with Brodeur in the past to add to these most recent. Every player that calls himself a competitor will always bring himself to the highest level of play, whether you're an agitator or a goal scorer. Yet there is something about the way that Avery does it that gets the entire league to hate him - that's because he does it with disrespect and play that lacks honesty. Let's also not forget when Avery publicly stated that Marty is a whiner and a complainer during a post-game interview during the 06-07 season after a game in which he intentionally collided with Brodeur in the third period. I would not shake hands with someone who had the nerve to say that about me for the whole world to hear.
So the fact that Brodeur, a hall-of-fame shoe in chose to not shake hands with someone who doesn't respect his teammates, the game, or anyone else involved, allowed me to respect Brodeur more than I ever have. I will say he is probably one of, if not the best goaltender of all time especially when he was in his prime. The best today? I don't know if I would say that. The classiest guy? Definitely not. I've heard him say a few things that have been borderline offensive, but he's also come out to compliment his opponents, something I can't say I ever remember Avery doing.
And I love the fact that Sam Rosen and Joe Micheletti thought they saw Avery reach for Broduer's hand like a gentleman. I've watched the replay a couple of times and it clearly looks to me that Avery wasn't even looking at Brodeur, but right passed him. His hand was slightly extended, but the fact that he was looking at the player behind Brodeur tells me that extension was definitely not for Marty. Let's not give Avery the class and praise he does not deserve.
So cheers to Martin Brodeur. And I'll be watching the next series closely, hoping to see the Rangers get knocked out of the 2nd round once again.