Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Mumbo Jumbo (Nothing Interesting Here)

In yesterday's tally of monies spent on Buffalo sports in the previous two days, I left something out. Which is okay because it was hands down the best value for my money I got out of either game.

I'm not giving you the finger right now. Or am I?

I first saw these bad boys at the preseason game I attended with Kate and I've been noodling the idea of buying one ever since. I finally saw them available for purchase at the booths around the arena last night. Initially the $9 price tag seemed a little steep for what is essentially a circle of styrofoam but after walking away from the first booth, I caved and stopped at the next one.

Look, I'm not kidding when I say this was the best part of my Sunday or Monday. When you're sitting at the most boring hockey game in the history of the world, an oversized foam paw is pretty much the best thing ever. I spent the entire third period patting Mark on the head, pawing at his shoulder, forcing him to high-five my paw and waving my hand in his face while saying, "I'm giving you the middle finger right now but you can't see it." About halfway through the period he asked me, "So is this something you bring to every game now that you've bought it?" and I'm pretty sure he actually groaned when I said, "Heck, yeah! Wooooooooooooooooooo!" while shaking my paw at him.

Odds and ends:

- While I am in no way making excuses for the abomination of a game Monday night, I will lay a little bit of the blame on the scheduling. Both teams were playing their third game in four nights and that probably contributed to how lackluster the game was. I think that came into play a little bit in the Montreal game too. Both teams played in different cities the night before and by the time the third period rolled around both teams were running on fumes. Again, not an excuse for the losses since both opponents were in the same boat as the Sabres but that kind of scheduling certainly affects the on-ice product. Trapping is one thing, trapping as performed by tired, listless players is another thing altogether. You cannot tell me that November's schedule couldn't have been better, NHL.

- I'm so glad to hear the Sabres record is starting over at 0-0-0 as of Thursday. It'll be nice to be back on an even keel with Boston and Montreal. Wait, they're not starting over? Oh, okay.

- Sean Avery got suspended for making fun of Dion Phaneuf for dating his ex-girlfriend? Really? Players can hit other players in the head, behind the play, into the boards etc. without even getting a penalty but Avery is going to get suspended for running his mouth about a girl who, let's face it, has indeed gotten around in the NHL? I... don't understand the NHL. Avery is a douchebag, no doubt and I understand why all my friends in Dallas are thrilled that he's off the ice but again, come on. If there's one thing I've learned in my line of work it's that sometimes you have to come down on a kid and sometimes you just have to ignore their obnoxious efforts at getting attention. I think this was a time for planned ignoring. And if Phaneuf pounds his face in, hey, whatever. We call those natural consequences. Sean Avery: An Emotionally Disturbed Child in a Grown-Up's Body.

- Oh, and don't even go there on the outrage that Avery's comments objectify women, NHL. As Anne said during a discussion at IPB last night, I suppose all the video interviews of the members of the Blue Crew featured on the Thrashers' website are done in bikinis because it's so hot in Atlanta, right?

- I don't really like the Sabres right now.

- I wrote this entire entry with my Sabretooth paw.

There is nothing a foam paw can't do!


Katebits said...

Heather, this post made me LOL. Mostly because I made several serious attempts at folding my Sabretooth paw into a reasonable middle finger gesture last night. :D

John (your brother) said...

They don't call it "Hotlanta" for nothing.

And it's not just a foam circle. For one thing, it's not a circle. It's a much more complicated paw shape that requires expensive custom dies or molds to manufacture. There's also the expensive screen printing. Definitely much more than a mere circle of foam.

And did you growl or purr while pawing at Mark?

I must say, I AM amazed how well you type with that thing on your hand. Will you be wearing your paw to mom's house for Christmas?

ElmaGolf said...

a girl who, let's face it, has indeed gotten around in the NHL?

don't even go there on the outrage that Avery's comments objectify women, NHL.

Heather - I'm having a little trouble reconciling those comments (but I may be misreading them). It seemed like you (maybe by association with your linked discussion) were OK with judging Elisha Cuthbert, but have a problem with bikini-clad marketing.

Is Elisha Cuthbert really some type of sl*t because she's dated more than one person in the same profession? Is there a "one hockey player per lifetime rule?" Is everyone who's dated multiple people a skank - or only her because all her relationships get publicized? It seems like quite a double standard judging her, and, sorry to say, I'm willing to bet Mr. Tallinder has had multiple "partners" (even ignoring the alleged "incident") and I don't sense the same judgment of his dating habits.

(And speaking of double standard judgments - did Sean Avery really believe Rachel Hunter when she said he was her "first"?)

And of course it seems a bit odd that the NHL is "clutching its pearls" at this incident, but you know that's not their real reason for suspending him. They had to admonish those comments because they'd have been crucified for ignoring those statements. Just because the NHL uses attractive women to sell its products (and honestly, the same goes for the men they choose to use in their advertising), doesn't somehow change the fact that Sean Avery is an unbelievable doucebag.

Bottom line, Sean Avery is suspended for being a dickhead. Since they couldn't really suspend him for that and get past the union, they needed him to do something that would set him apart and give them cover. He hand delivered it to them yesterday. I liken it to the Feds finally putting Capone away for tax evasion.

Of course everyone talks smack like that on the ice (as Barnaby said), which is why the NHL was so thrilled at Avery's arrogance in setting up a premeditated display of ignorance and assholism. It allowed them to make a distinction between his behavior and everyone else's.

And of course it's true that suspensions for this seem ridiculous when compared with some of the on-ice hits that go unpunished. But I don't think ignoring TWO negative elements in the game "evens the scales." And even though your suggestion of a "planned ignoring" probably works with kids, the NHL was smart enough to know that the press wasn't going to ignore him, regardless of their actions (or inactions). They may as well do something rather than let him have the "unpunished" attention he obviously craved.

Katebits said...

I don't follow your line of reasoning between disagreeing with this suspension and "judging" Elisha Cuthbert. This is an adult woman, not some little girl who needs to be protected from her past. Acknowledging that Elisha Cuthbert "has indeed gotten around in the NHL" is not judging her. It's a statement of fact. She was in a relationship with Avery for over a year, and she followed him up with another high profile hockey player- I'm sure she was aware of what she was getting herself into here. And you know what? All the power to her if that's her thing.

I don't understand why we have to make her out to be some kind of victim in order to protect her from the "slut" label. She's a grown-up.

Anne M said...

I totally agree with ElmaGolf, especially the last paragraph. As long as the NHL cares about the image the players project, they can't just ignore Avery. If no one picked up this story yesterday, maybe he would have gotten off with a warning. But it's getting a lot of coverage in sports media, and it's not the kind of coverage the league wants. The more attention he gets for antics like this, the more it hurts the NHL's image. Just because we agree the league isn't doing enough about stuff on the ice doesn't mean they shouldn't do anything about Avery being a jackass.

I also agree that the league has many flaws in how discipline is handled. That doesn't change the fact that Avery deserved to be disciplined for what he said. And I think it's actually kind of consistent for him to get in trouble. We all know the league considers a player's history or reputation when doling out punishment for on-ice incidents and I think the same concept is at work here. Avery's mouth has gotten him in trouble in the past and Scott Burnside has a story about an alleged incident between Avery and a fan in Boston which resulted in a complaint to the league. I'm sure the league looked at these past incidents (confirmed and alleged) and decided to take action. He was representing his team and the league when he called the reporters over and waited for all the lights and cameras to be ready. He has to pay the price for that choice.

ElmaGolf said...

I don't follow your line of reasoning between disagreeing with this suspension and "judging" Elisha Cuthbert.

I think there are a few points mixed together (unintentionally). And I may have been misinterpreting a few things that were written.

Regarding the "judging" of Elisha, I was a little surprised, especially in following the link to IPB. The discussion at IPB seemed to indicate that "well, she IS a slut" so what's the big deal with what he said? I found this odd:

- First, I found it funny that the "sexist" discussion of Elisha's "sluttiness" included some level of disgust at the NHLs "sexist" use of bikini-clad women.

I can understand why someone would feel that it is sexist to use attractive women to market a product in Atlanta (of course, I don't hear much complaining that it's generally the attractive NHL players used for marketing on the male side).

But isn't it also a "sexist" double standard to judge Elisha Cuthbert because she has had multiple relationships with hockey players? Where does the "slut" part come in?

Is there evidence she dated multiple hockey players at the same time and cheated on them? If not, is she somehow "forbidden" to date someone else in the same profession once she's broken up with him?

When you say "I'm sure she was aware of what she was getting herself into here" - I'm confused. It sounds like there's some element of "well, she knew the consequences of her CRIME, so it's her own fault she's judged." This, in my opinion, seems a bit sexist. And to illustrate the double standard, I asked how many times Hank Tallinder's "sluttiness" and "skankiness" has been discussed here, despite the likelihood he's dated multiple people in his lifetime.

As for disagreeing or agreeing with the suspension itself, it really doesn't have much to do with the content of yesterday's comments. Yesterday was just the "final straw" in terms of the league's patience with Avery.

If yesterday had been the first we’d ever heard from Sean Avery, everyone would simply say “what a dick!” and move on. But the fact that he repeatedly does assholic things, compounded by the fact that he seems to relish coming up with ways of being an asshole (see his smirking at his own “cleverness” before he even got the line out), and I’m fine with the punishment.

I like the justice involved with a guy who liked to mock people by saying “yeah, I’m an asshole, but there’s no law against it” and then the NHL coming out and saying “Well, there actually is, but we save it only for extreme cases of morons who jump in front of cameras and provide us with the cover we need to apply it.”

Katebits said...

He has to pay the price for that choice.

If I thought this suspension was even remotely forcing Avery to "pay the price" for any of this, I might agree with you, Anne. A massive part of the attention this situation has garnered is from non-NHL media members scratching their heads and saying, "Wait. You can get suspended for this in the NHL?" (Keep in mind that Plaxico Burress shot himself in the thigh with an unregistered handgun in a nightclub this week- and he got a four game suspension. I'm not saying that's right, but that's the world in which the sports media works. The most widely consumed coverage of the Sean Avery event will now come from people who don't follow or understand the culture of hockey. They're used to football scandals- which by comparison makes this flap look laughably quaint.) The NHL has without question made this the best day of Sean Avery's life. There were a dozen different ways they could have disciplined him rather than this circus of the "indefinite" suspension. We're never going to hear the end of this now- and Avery is NEVER going to shut up. Get ready for the "Free Avery" t-shirts, because they're coming.

Katebits said...

ElmaGolf, I do think there has been a serious disconnect between the spirit of the conversation at IPB and how you have interpreted it. The sentiment (at least as far a I participated in it) was not that the Thrasher's ice girls are sexist and that Elisha Cuthbert is (or isn't) a slut- it's that defining the "morality" of this stuff is a really tricky thing to do. Everyone draws the line in a different place. Personally, I don't think I have ever made a peep of genuine protest about ice girls, and I didn't hear anyone doing that last night on IPB. The ice girls references were in jest and merely used as an example of how the NHL is also guilty of objectifying women.

I realize that perhaps I've been inarticulate in expressing myself today, especially in regards to the weird "sexist" part of this whole debate, so I want to be very very clear: I do not think the issue at stake here is Elisha Cuthbert. At all.

Is Elisha Cuthbert really some type of sl*t because she's dated more than one person in the same profession?

Elma, everyone has their own definition of "slut". Everyone draws the line in a different place. You seem to indicate here that to you the line between "good" and "slut" has something to do with monogamy:

Is there evidence she dated multiple hockey players at the same time and cheated on them? If not, is she somehow "forbidden" to date someone else in the same profession once she's broken up with him?

Personally, I'm not in the slightest bit concerned with how many partners she's had, or in what time frame she's had them. For me, the line is drawn when a woman uses her relationships to garner attention from the media. Yeah, I'm judging her. So are you. You are judging her to be "good" because you have no direct evidence that she did anything that you define as "bad".

But my point is NOT that Elisha Cuthbert is bad or good- it's that the NHL chose are really stupid time to crack down on Avery.

LAstly, I said some things last night at IPB in the vein of "slut" (although I'm pretty sure I never said "slut". I really prefer the more goofy sounding "ho-bag" in this type of situation. :P), and I'm willing to take my lumps for them. But I would like to say that everything I said was in the spirit of humor, it was NEVER intended as some type of indictment against Cuthbert for her sexual past. My definition of "slut" (fair or unfair) has a lot more to do with using sex/relationships to advance your career than it does with actual sex.

But that's just me. And that's kind of my point- no two people are going to see eye to eye on this one, and believe it or not, some women might actually prefer the "slut" label to the "victim of Sean Avery" label.

Pookie said...

ElmaGolf, I do think there has been a serious disconnect between the spirit of the conversation at IPB and how you have interpreted it.

Very, very much so. Elma, As I understood it, the discussion of Ice Girls was brought up solely to illustrate the point that the league is being hypocritical in framing the suspension in terms of taking a stand against degrading women. There was never, at any point, a discussion of the merits of Ice Girls, or whether the convention of having scantily clad women representing the team is sexist or not.

Heather B. said...

All right, let me try to clarify some things.

One, I don't mean to imply Elisha Cuthbert is a slut and I never used that word here or at IPB. She can date anyone she wants as many times as she wants. But what Sean Avery said is, while crudely-worded and reprehensible, the truth. More than one hockey player has dated his ex-girlfriend. This isn't some random girl that he has no connection with. They had a fairly lengthy personal relationship. Cuthbert is a grown-up and shouldn't need protected by the NHL. She dated Sean Avery. I doubt she's at all surprised by the fact that he's a douchebag who runs his mouth off at every opportunity.

Two, I personally have no problem with the NHL using women to sell its product to a certain portion of its audience. While it's not my thing, I understand that some people like it. If it didn't get a response they wouldn't use it. What I do have a problem with is the hypocrisy of the NHL clutching its collective pearls over Avery's comments because they objectify women while freely promoting the kinds of videos on Atlanta's website which is directly linked to NHL.com. Again, promote the league however you want but if it involves women being scantily clad when there's absolutely no reason for them to be that way, you don't get to take the high moral ground.

I understand Avery has a history. I understand the league wants him to shut up. I understand everyone wishes he'd all just go the heck away. I feel the same way. But I just don't get the hubaloo over this particular incident and I don't see why it should push anyone over the edge where he's concerned. Again, it was crude and offensive but I really just don't see it as a suspendable offense.

For the record, yes, Hank is a whore and a half. I wasn't blogging at the time of the accused rape trial but if you think it didn't bother me, you're extremely wrong. I've never brought it up here because it's never been a center of any kind of discussion since I started Top Shelf but I can assure you that friends and I have had many discussions about it. While I've never had a serious conversation about it here, I've also never pretended it didn't happen.

Vanek's Hair said...

I thought Elisha Cuthbert was pretty funny in Old School. "Can you believe she is going to graduate high school in six months?" "Sorry sir, I thought you just said high school"

The suspension is a lifetime achievement award for a lot of things Sean Avery has done. Including having to add a "Sean Avery Rule" in the middle of the playoffs. Of course it always goes unmentioned that should also be called the Brendan Shanahan rule because he used the same technique. But since he is a "leader" and "good in the dressing room" and has "all the intangibles" no one cared.

ElmaGolf said...

Katebits -

I certainly wasn't judging Cuthbert as "good" - I wasn't making any judgement of her at all. I was questioning the people who seemed to be judging her, and by some extension made it seem like what Avery said "wasn't that bad."

Even if Elisha did date people to "advance her career", I still don't see at all how it makes the term "sloppy seconds" non-offensive, especially when it comes from the mouth of a serial asshole like Avery. I don't think Avery was making a non-sexual reference to "star chasing" when he chose his terminology.

Regardless - I agree that it seems
like a bit of a strange time to for the NHL to crack the whip - but only if you look at this incident in a vacuum. He gave the NHL an inch, and they're taking a mile to unload their pent up frustration with his antics. Is their logic a bit strained - sure, but the end result seems fair to me.

Heather B. said...

Great. It took me so long to write that last comment that everyone not only beat me to the punch but they said what I was trying to say much more efficiently. I do want to elaborate on one I just said though:

This isn't some random girl that he has no connection with. They had a fairly lengthy personal relationship.

This wasn't really in response to anything you said here, Elma but a response to some arguments I've seen that this comment is just the first step and soon Avery will be mouthing off to the press about players' wives, mothers, daughters etc. to any reporter who will listen. I really don't think that's the case. In this situation the topic of conversation is someone he knows and has had a personal relationship with. I think it's a pretty big leap to think he'll go from this to insulting Lindy Ruff's daughter before the Stars-Sabres game.

Again, it was a completely obnoxious statement. I just don't see that it's suspendable and I really don't think it's the black eye on the league that some are making it out to be. As Kate pointed out, it's completely pedestrian in comparison to regular goings-on in the NFL and NBA.

Vanek's Hair said...

Why did some media outlets censor sl*ppy s*conds? Is it really that offensive a term? Or as a society have we become so overly sensitive as to become concerned with sl*ppy s*conds-types everywhere being offended by hearing that?

ElmaGolf said...

Heather -

Thanks for clarifying your points - I didn't want to misinterpret things. I have had relationships with women who had very strong views about "sexual double standards," so my reaction to the discussions at IPB were influenced by my heightened sensitivity to the issue. And to some extent why I feel Avery's comments were all the more offensive. If he'd said, "I noticed a lot of guys in the league were dating my ex-girlfriends" - this wouldn't be an issue, but he chose to use a crude offensive term to refer to women.

Heck - I used to be afraid to use the term "douchebag" as being offensive, but you've made me feel comfortable with it. ;P

I don't see why it should push anyone over the edge where he's concerned. Again, it was crude and offensive but I really just don't see it as a suspendable offense.

I think you answered your own question. Simply put, he decided to use a crude & offensive comment to describe women, while summoning the cameras to do so. It's not like that's an everyday occurrence in the NHL or sports in general.

Has any other player used the "n" word on camera and expected to get away with it?

Did Travis Henry ever refer to the various "bitches and hos" he has children with while talking to Jerry Sullivan?

Avery really put himself on an easily punishable island yesterday, and the NHL is taking advantage to "make up for lost time."

Heather B. said...

Elma, I think we just have our personal lines in the sand in different places on this one. If Travis Henry referred to all his various baby mamas as "bitches and hos" in an interview I would find it obnoxious and I think it would reflect poorly on him but I wouldn't expect the league to suspend him. And I don't think "sloppy seconds" is even close to the n word. Not even in the same neighborhood. That's a totally different level in my mind. We've found a rare point of disagreement, I think. It was bound to happen sooner or later :P

Heck - I used to be afraid to use the term "douchebag" as being offensive, but you've made me feel comfortable with it. ;P

Excellent! My work here is done :)

Lee Andrew said...

I liken it to the Feds finally putting Capone away for tax evasion.

I don't see that as a good comparison. When Al Capone was finally taken in for tax evasion he did something that was ACTUALLY illegal. Avery didn't do anything that was worthy of the punishment. Your comparison would be more like if Al Capone talked during a movie at the theater. Yeah, it's rude, but it's not anything worth being punished for.

Even if it is a "lifetime achievement award" it came at the wrong time, especially since everybody is so sure he will do something even worse in the near future. I mean giving Avery a "lifetime achievement award" for this is like giving Michael Caine a Lifetime Achievement Award (the good kind) because of his excellent work in Jaws 4.

ElmaGolf said...

And I don't think "sloppy seconds" is even close to the n word. Not even in the same neighborhood. That's a totally different level in my mind.

Totally agreed - I wasn't trying to equate them in any way. It was just an example that you don't hear many players making crude remarks on camera very often (yet alone going out of their way to have the cameramen get ready for his "one thing to say").

He removed himself of the protection of "everyone does that" once he asked the camera to be turned back on. It allowed the league to invoke an obscure rule and apply it.

I hope I'm not coming off as a prude - I understand that the "offensiveness" of a term often depends on the person using it. In Avery's case, benefit of the doubt is completely lost.

And if you're still worried about the fairness of the suspension, consider that you get 2 minutes for Unsportsmanlike Conduct. Is 5 games or so unreasonable given Avery's level of douchebaggery?

(And thank you liberating me of my fear in using such a wonderfully expressive term) ;P

Katebits said...

Just to be clear, I think what Sean Avery said is extremely offensive....I just wasn't that offended by it personally. Heh. By main point is that this seems like an awful lot of hand wringing over what amounts to some off color trash talk.

I confused this issue a lot by bringing a bunch of sexual politics into the equation. That's probably a post for another day. :D

Heather B. said...

For the record, I expected any comments on this post to be along the lines of, "I can't believe you spent $9 on one of those stupid foam paws. What are you, 6?" :P

Elma, you're not coming off as a prude at all. Usually I'm a prude so I recognize my own kind. And just to be very, very clear, I think Sean Avery is reprehensible. My dislike for him goes way beyond him being annoying on the ice since I think he's shown time and time again that he has no respect for other people. I'm not really OUTRAGED that he was suspended, just a little perplexed. I'm just surprised that this particular comment - even as premeditated and set-up as it clearly was - has gotten such a strong response, that's all. I really do think the league has escalated the level of attention its received by making such a big deal about it.

Pookie said...

Lee Andrew, you totally hit the nail on the head with both your talking in the movie theater and Jaws 4 comments! Awesome!

Jonathan said...

I don't know what to think of the suspension, because that could turn out to exacerbate the situation.

I know Avery loves attention, but I don't think he loves having attention in the form of his own teammates being sick of him. Mike Modano? The freaking owner? More than he bargained for IMO.

But the reason this is getting so much hockey attention is because we don't have guys going to night clubs getting arrested at 3am, shooting themselves in the leg every other week or getting busted with steriods or changing the names to chad ocho cinco.

Are there bigger issues in hockey? Sure. But who cares? We'll get to those in the offseason. A lot of people are saying this is a very small deal compared to such things as hits to the head. There are much bigger issues in the NHL. But are there? Really?

I'm not a woman, so I don't know exactly how a woman would react to that kind of comment, but I have to imagine its pretty horrendously mortifying for her. Unless maybe she's allowed herself to be objectified to the point where those kinds of comments about her don't phase her anymore--but that by itself would be pretty sad as well.

Anyways, the point is that I don't know how I'd react to someone saying that about me in public. But I'm pretty sure I'd rather take a concussion shot to the head than see a loved one have to go through that. I mean, this isn't just some college punk who's saying that about her. It's a guy with whom she'd been in a relationship. It's a guy she's presumably "met," in the Biblical sense of the word. Probably somebody she used to trust a great deal. That could freaking sting to hear something like that.

I think the NHL is quite hypocritical as you pointed out. It's no secret that women are overwhelmingly objectified in today's society (and maybe yesterday's society too...iono, I wasn't around then). But that being the case, that makes me feel worse about the situation--not better. You know, two rights not making a wrong and everything...

Anyways, I guess my point is that I'm a bit sick of people glossing over his comments, saying it's not a big deal. I can count on one hand the number of things I'd rather see happen to someone than objectification, and three of them involve the shootout in the playoffs.

The fourth thing would be if the NHL moved from ESPN to Versus. Wait...aww crap.

So naturally I don't buy the argument that there are a bazillion worse things than this "insignificant little comment."