Sean Avery had a long rap sheet before his six-game suspension handed down by the National Hockey League Friday.
According to the league, Avery was initially suspended in accordance with the provisions of By-Law 17 and Article 6 of the NHL Constitution for conduct “detrimental to the League or game of hockey.”
There’s no question Avery’s comments regarding past girlfriends were inappropriate and embarrassing to the league and the Dallas Stars. But what remains up for debate is whether the punishment for Avery’s latest outburst fits the crime.
Below are some other famous ‘detrimental’ comments made over the years by some well-known individuals.
Name: Wayne Gretzky
Incident: After his Edmonton Oilers spanked the New Jersey Devils to the tune of 13-4 Wayne Gretzky famously called the Devils a ‘Mickey Mouse’ organization.
Name: Mario Lemieux
Incident: Pittsburgh Penguins captain Mario Lemieux, frustrated by clutching and grabbing, referred to the NHL as a “garage league.” Many believed the French-speaking Lemieux meant to say “garbage,” and not “garage.” Apparently the NHL thought so too and fined him $1,000.
Name: Chris Chelios
Incident: During the 1994-95 lockout, former Norris Trophy winner Chris Chelios directed his frustrations at Gary Bettman. “If I was Gary Bettman, I’d be worried about my family, about my well-being right now,” Chelios said. “Some crazed fan or even a player, who knows, might take it into his own hands and figure that if they get him out of the way, this might get settled. You’d hate to see something like that happen, but he took the job.”
Chelios, then reportedly told the New York Daily News that Bettman should ‘get the gas’ following the conclusion of the most recent lockout.
Name: Bobby Clarke
Incident: When asked whether it was unfair of him to not allow Roger Nielson to return to the Philadelphia Flyers bench following a bout with cancer, NHL Hall of Famer and then Flyers general manager Bobby Clarke played the victim card. “The Neilson situation — Roger got cancer — that wasn’t our fault. We didn’t tell him to go get cancer. It’s too bad that he did. We feel sorry for him, but then he went goofy on us.”
Name: Jeremy Roenick
Incident: After being suspended one game for throwing a water bottle at a referee, Roenick turned his attention to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. “I’m just surprised that you can get fined $91,000 for throwing a water bottle on the ice,” said Roenick. “It’s like fining Gary Bettman for all those lies about the collective bargaining agreement coming. He throws those around like they’re candy.”
Name: Pat Quinn
Incident: Then Toronto Maple Leafs head coach and general manager Pat Quinn was slapped with a huge $100,000 fine by the NHL after criticizing free agent signings by other clubs.
“What’s happened in this business?” asked Quinn. “And then we come into a year like this where we get five-year contracts (at) $9 million (per year). There are ways to run a business and that’s why there’s going to be a lockout.”
Name: Sean Avery
Incident: After then Phoenix defenceman Denis Gauthier body-checked Kings forward Jeremy Roenick and concussed him, Roenick teammate Sean Avery took aim at French Canadians.
“I think it was typical of most French guys in our league with a visor on, running around and playing tough and not back anything up,” said Avery.
During the regular season then Edmonton Oilers forward Georges Laraque, a black Canadian, claimed that Avery had used a racial slur, but it was never proven.
Name: Craig MacTavish
Incident: After an officiating error cost the Edmonton Oilers a point, Oilers coach Craig MacTavish found himself $10,000 poorer after being fined for calling the game’s referee “spastic” and describing the blunder as “retarded.”