NHL justice an uneven affair

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:56 AM ET

Actions must speak louder than words in the head offices of the National Hockey League.

Penguins winger Andre Roy got a two-game suspension for his throat-slashing gesture the other night.

That's an appropriate penalty.

Los Angeles Kings forward Sean Avery made disparaging remarks about French-Canadian players and all he gets is a verbal slap on the wrist from the league.

That's not good enough.

You could argue Avery's comments were more damaging to the league's image than Roy's slashing gesture. There weren't likely too many fans who took Roy's actions personally. But Avery's comments likely offended a good chunk of the NHL's fan base in Quebec.

"I don't know the guy. I don't know if he thought about it ... probably not," said Senators winger Antoine Vermette. "I don't think it's smart, but that's about all I want to say about it."

HEAR AND THERE: Sidney Crosby is living with Penguins owner-superstar Mario Lemieux. Crosby had his first babysitting shift Wednesday night, but said after last night's pre-season game against the Senators that he didn't know if he was going to get paid. Would that money have to count under the salary cap? ... Not a good start for Crosby and linemates Mark Recchi and John LeClair last night. They gave up a 2-on-1 right off the opening faceoff ... That the Penguins were there for the opening faceoff was good enough, I suppose. They left Pittsburgh at 4 p.m. yesterday. I've left the east end at 4 p.m. and barely made it for game time.

THE BUZZ: It's funny how things work out. Former Senators centre Shaun Van Allen did his first game as a radio analyst on the Team 1200 broadcast last night. So it turned out it involved the Penguins, a team that has been at least mildly interested in Van Allen as their fourth-line centre ... Hey, the Senators finally found a team that's worse on faceoffs than they are. The Senators were 30-25 in the faceoff circle. Crosby was 6-12 ... Yeah, I know it's only the pre-season, but centre Jason Spezza is looking like a guy who could win a scoring title this season.

LEMME SAY THIS ABOUT THAT: Another sign things have changed on the Ottawa bench -- Don't know what coach Bryan Murray said to centre Mike Fisher in the second period, but it must have been funny. Fisher was having a good laugh ... Crosby is strong on his skates. Senators Christoph Schubert and Spezza bounced right off him late in the first period when they tried to take runs at him ... Seconds after that, Ottawa's Dany Heatley sprang the puck loose with a good shoulder check on Penguins defenceman Sergei Gonchar in the Senators zone. Heatley then finished the 2-on-1 for Ottawa's first goal ... He didn't get an assist on the play, but Senators defenceman Lance Ward did a nice job of getting the transition started in the neutral zone, moving the puck up quickly and starting the play that led to Vermette's goal that made it 3-1.

JUST WONDERING: It went by pretty fast, but was that paper airplane that went by from the Team 1200 booth on its way to the Penguins bench a resume? Thought I saw Van Allen's name on it ... Have you noticed who's leading Senators defencemen in scoring this pre-season? He had another two assists bringing his total to two goals and five assists in four games. That would be Brian Pothier ... I don't know how much Murray is planning on using Martin Havlat to kill penalties, but he did a pretty nice job in the closing seconds of the game. When the other team can't get the puck off your guy, that's usually a pretty good way of killing a penalty.

PARTING SHOTS: Crosby wasn't the best rookie on the ice last night. That would have been Ottawa's Brandon Bochenski, who had about 10 shots, though only three officially made it through to the net, and an assist ... Senators goalie Ray Emery might have ranked ahead of Crosby in the rookie parade, too ... Sign of the night: "These tickets were free and I brought my own beer."


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