Yes, NHL bad boy deserves anger (and stupidity) counselling, but league needs help handing down suspensions that work

RANDY SPORTAK

, Last Updated: 8:57 AM ET

Six games for Sean Avery.

Too much? Too few? Too much time wasted worrying about it.

Avery finally received his due punishment yesterday, six games plus anger management counselling. (Does he really need anger management counselling or should it be stupidity management?)

At this point, I don't want to bother debating if it was too much or not enough. It would be great if he'd just blow away, or go to Russia for the rest of his career.

At least we can applaud the league for having the guts to do something about the Dallas Stars mouthpiece/agitator/fashion diva immediately after he uttered his now-infamous diatribe, which, if given the choice, I never want to repeat or write again.

It was disgraceful, not only for the classless words uttered at Dion Phaneuf's girlfriend Elisha Cuthbert, and we'll also assume Rachel Hunter, fiance of Los Angeles Kings forward Jarret Stoll, both women Avery dated in the past, but also because it was premeditated and orchestrated for maximum exposure.

It's worth noting, Avery's banishment goes beyond the two words he said prior to facing the Flames. There are allegedly two incidents in which he said even more disgusting things to female fans at games, once in Boston and once in Nashville. Throw into the mix other antics he hasn't been punished for, and it's easy to understand why the league didn't believe two games were enough.

Interesting to watch will be what happens for Avery after his suspension is over. Will he return to the Stars? Will he be jettisoned? Will he survive the rest of the season if he plays in the NHL, since Dallas faces Calgary three more times and Los Angeles on four more occasions?

While the NHL deserves credit for stepping to the plate regarding Avery, it's high time it reconsidered the suspension process for on-ice antics.

By no means is this to diminish the words Avery said -- could you imagine hearing somebody say that about your daughter or sister? -- but the phrase about sticks and stones should be given more thought by the league's disciplinarians in the future. Avery's words are as disrespectful as so many other incidents that haven't netted nearly as long of banishments.

THINK ABOUT THESE:

- Philadelphia's Randy Jones received only two games for his hit on Boston's Patrice Bergeron early last season, which cost Bergeron the rest of the campaign.

- This season, serial hit-from-behind attacker Ryan Hollweg's hit on Alex Pietrangelo was worth three games, yet the St. Louis rookie -- since returned to junior -- missed six games.

- Montreal's Tom Kostopoulos was suspended three games for his hit on Toronto's Mike Van Ryn nearly a month ago, and Van Ryn is still a couple of weeks away from returning. (At least Kostopoulos showed some sincere contrition and is not a cheap-shot artist.)

The list could continue for a couple of pages, but you get the point. It's great the NHL has decided to punish Avery for giving the game of hockey a big, black eye.

Hopefully, it remembers to do the same to all those who bring shame to the NHL.

FLAMING C-NOTES

If the shoe fits: Gotta thank the gang on Calgarypuck for the laughs when they were needed most the other day. A thread called 'Iginla: The Shoe' stemmed from "yads" noticing Bacco Bucci names several of its products after hockey players, including the Flames captain (A white loafer with green trim?!?). The real treat is the comments about some other shoes available, or worth producing: "That Penner shoe seems really over-priced for what it brings to the table", "they all look a little too thin for my feet. I'd probably have to wait for them to come out with a wide-soled series and pick up a Tkachuk or a Wellwood", "Luongo = flip flops" and "Do any of the ones named after Canucks come with removable soft spikes on the bottom?" Good laughs, gang ... It's too bad the Flames didn't unveil a 1980s-style sweater, complete with red pants, for Retro night last weekend. Here's guessing that will be the creation when a new third jersey is released.

HOCKEY TALKY

It would be a lot easier to take the Atlantic Division-leading New York Rangers more seriously if they didn't have seven of their wins via shootouts ... Hopefully for all hockey fans, Colorado's Joe Sakic can retire from the game while still playing at a high level, not perpetually recovering from a bad back until he fades into the sunset ... Geez, how did the ratings for Hockey Night in Canada improve so much without the theme song? An interesting note for those in Calgary, based on the numbers released this week, HNIC's audiences have increased with the Flames having played the most second-half games of the double-headers. Also interesting, the viewership of the pre-game show and After Hours are both up more than 50%. The CBC deserves plenty of the body shots it receives, but those shows are well done, even with the overdone Maple Leafs coverage ... Surprising statistic of the week: The Pittsburgh Penguins, with all that offensive talent, have only an 11.3% success rate on the powerplay when on the road. The Pens are humming along nicely at home at 23%.

YOU DON'T SAY

"You wouldn't believe the number of plastic surgeons who have slipped me their business cards in different cities. I tell them, 'Maybe when my career is done, we can talk.' "

-- Colorado's Ian Laperriere whose nose is one of the greatest bending rivers you'll see


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