As much as I love Timmy Thomas, the Boston Bruins and the rules of our sport I can't seem to get worked up over Sean Avery's 'accidental' stick incident last Saturday.
It would be hypocritical for me to get up in arms when I pulled the same shit when I was playing.
Warning: we're starting story time now. JJ Putz just came in to protect the Mets 2-1 lead in the 8th and this story could really get away from me and turn into an hour long tale that goes nowhere. I'll start writing but there's no telling where we may end up. You've been warned.
In high school Heals and I played for a Catholic school that drew kids from the neighboring towns. Every team we faced was considered a rival because, for the most part, we would be playing against the home squad of at least 2 or 3 guys on our team.
Most of the time there were friendly rivalries where guys would battle on the ice and share a laugh after the game. You grew up in that town and played youth hockey with many of the guys we faced in high school so it never got too heated or too friendly most of the time.
Heals's hometown was different; Hamden, Connecticut hated Healey. I don't know where it got ugly but some of the kids that Heals used to call friends were part of the group that threw jars of spaghetti sauce threw his windows in high school. Some of the mothers that Heals's mom used to sit next to when watching their mites bump around the ice were the same mothers who would taunt and jeer her at the local grocery. Shit was so weird and personal when we played Hamden and, being his friend and teammate, it was impossible not to get caught up in some of it.
Playing in that Hamden rink was always an adventure for us. We knew going in that the crowd would be hostile not just because they hated Heals but because it seemed like the whole town had nothing else in their lives other than high school hockey. The parents who had kids took these games as seriously as their sons did and the people who didn't have skin in the game seemed even more invested in the outcome. The environment was awesome and completely frightening all the same time.
Anyways, while playing in Hamden's barn late senior year the crowd was getting on Heals during the warm ups. It wasn't anything out of line or anything we hadn't heard before but in a must win game for both teams this crowd was gaining an edge before the puck was dropped. Again, they were awesome and positively terrifying all at the same time.
We were used to big audiences and the venom didn't really bother us that much but since they were making it tough for my goalie to start the game I tried to turn things around on their guy. We had an ice cut after warm ups and when the doors opened to start the 1st I skated the length of the ice and slashed their netminder in the head as head stretched atop his crease.
I did it to shake things up. I wanted to pull the kid off of his focus and I wanted the crowd to get all fired up that some dirty scumbag slashed their goalie and the refs didn't see it. Most importantly I wanted my teammates to see that I was not going to let some energized parents and fans dictate the tone of the game. They paid the $5 to get into the door but they came to see my show. Any physical tone would be set by me.
Truth being told I actually liked the other goalie. We went to school together and he was one of the nicest kids you'd ever meet. I had nothing against him off the ice but I'd do almost anything to win including cheap shots and dick moves to give my team the advantage. That's why I can't fault Avery for slapping Thomas the Tank Engine's helmet the other day. He didn't go out to injure him, he simply wanted to shake up the goalie who was stoning his team back into the 8th playoff spot. If Thomas went apeshit, lost his focus and gave up a soft goal after the game you would all crown Avery as a master pest. Instead he did his job and it didn't work.
If Avery gets suspended it would be a joke on par with when the league punished him for a stupid press conference. Avery hits Thomas, Thomas goes after Avery they both get 2 mins and hockey is back to normal. They'll see each other again. Hockey has a great way of evening things out.
As for Avery's intent, I can't fault him. A dbag tried to stir things up with a dick move and it didn't work. This dbag sees nothing wrong with that.
Putz, KRod = Yes. See you tomorrow.