On Monday night, Wayne Simmonds, of the Philadelphia Flyers, and Sean Avery, of the New York Rangers, got into it from the get go of the game. As the game went on, they got into a fight and in the end, Wayne Simmons allegedly utter a homophobic slur at Avery. Avery has recently become an advocate for gay rights and been seen as the first of his kind in the hockey world.
If Simmonds did say something in appropriate, then he is very much in the wrong. This is a man who had a banana thrown at him the week before. Homophobic slurs are now seen as bad as racial slurs, and the old adage of "what happens on the ice, stays on the ice" still remains, however with cameras, replays, mics and lip readers, that's not exactly the case anymore.
All of this, to get to a totally different point, but this incident brings it to the forefront. Everyone knows that Sean Avery is a giant pest. In my opinion, he is a shame to the game of hockey. I was discussing it this morning, and my boyfriend stated that refs should have a lot more leeway with unsportsmanlike conduct. I completely agree. He is someone who does not give anything to the sport of hockey other than an annoyance. Even his own coach disliked his style of hockey stating,
"Enough is enough," Tortorella said on TSN, before he was a Ranger. "He's
embarrassed himself, he's embarrassed the organization, he's embarrassed the
league and he's embarrassed his teammates, who have to look out for him. Send
him home. He doesn't belong in the NHL."
If someone looks at how play is conducted in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, these four line goons are either up in the press box or they're playing about 3 minutes a game. Clearly, these players are not in any way useful to a team in, what some consider, the most important games of the year. If these players are not important then, that they don't even dress for the game, why are they part of the season?\
On top of all this, the hockey is trying to reform the game to get a way from head hits, bad hits, and just in general making the game more safe. Why then is the 4th line goon still in the game? Do we really need the likes of Sean Avery, Colton Orr, or Matt Cooke to be out on the ice? I'm not talking about getting rid of those players who stand up for their teammates when pushed around, but those that just annoy people, take bad penalties, head shots, and get into fights just for the sake of getting into one. Look at Avery's play against Brodeur. Instead of screening the goalie like other players do, Avery stood facing Brodeur, chirping, and blocking his view. This is not hockey.
As an avid hockey fan, I do enjoy the odd fight. But the thing I like most about hockey is the game itself. I don't want to see my game interrupted by Sean Avery's antics, or Matt Cooke's head hits. I want to watch the game of hockey for the game that it is. So in my opinion, we should get rid of the 4th line goon, and make space on the roster for those who want to play the GAME of hockey.