Aug 6, 2011, 11:22 AM EDT
One can imagine that Avery is just used to these self-inflicted gaffes. In a way, it’s nearly reminiscent of Nicholas Cage’s character in “Raising Arizona.” He keeps getting in trouble and showing back up in prison, but seems friendly enough each time he makes his way behind bars.
Of course, the difference is that most of Avery’s foul-ups have been of the trivial, regrettable sound byte variety rather than legal problems. This situation could be a considerably bigger problem than a tasteless “Sloppy seconds” joke or waving his stick in front of Martin Brodeur in a juvenile manner, although one can only speculate how (or “if”) the NHL itself will react to his arrest.
If you ask Avery, it will blow over sooner or later, as he told Helen Kumari of the New York Post.
“I’m all right, I’m good,” a relaxed, smiling Avery, 31, told The Post at his Spanish bungalow in the West Hollywood hills after posting $20,000 bond on the battery charge.
“It’ll all work out at some point,” predicted Avery, whose on- and off-ice antagonism toward opponents and coaches have made him one of the NHL’s most-hated players during his career.
As Joe wrote yesterday, Avery’s court date is set for September 2. He could face up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine if convicted of the battery charges. It’s unclear how the league and his team will react to the situation, though.
“We will discuss this matter with Sean, and have no further comment at this time,” said Rangers spokesman John Roscasco.
The meeting will probably be stern and to-the-point, but it’s hard not to imagine a scene in which the hockey equivalent of a high school principal just throws up his hands and says he doesn’t know what to do with Avery.
There’s never a good time for this kind of behavior, but what makes it even more troubling is that this isn’t some young kid having one self-destructive night; Avery is 31 years old. There have been signs that he isn’t an all-around bad guy, but you have to wonder how many chances he has left to keep his fledgling NHL career alive.
Avery is in the final season of that big mistake of a contract the Dallas Stars gave him in 2008. Pests like Avery are often double-edged swords in that they can occasionally take penalties that hurt their own teams, but the key for the good ones – or at least the employable ones – is to bring more “pluses” than “minuses” to the table. Avery has a long way to go to prove that his on and off the ice issues don’t make him one big minus.
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