Sean Avery for NHL Commissioner

In the first minute of the video below, the remarks by Dallas Stars forward Sean Avery that have earned him a six-game suspension by the National Hockey League:



Hockey's a sport that needs to generate fan interest in the worst way, a truth that's even more apparent here in South Florida, where the Panthers are running third to last among the NHL's 30 teams in drawing fans. According to the most recent Harris Poll, hockey trails both professional football and baseball by wide margins as the sport that adult men -- the target demographic -- name as their favorite.

Hockey is, like the other major sports, entertainment. Behind-the-scenes drama is entertaining. And Avery is an entertainer. As you saw in the video above, he summoned reporters and waited till they were all around before delivering his scandalous remark: that by dating actress Elisha Cuthbert, Calgary Flames defenseman Dion Phanouf was dining on Avery's "sloppy seconds."

In a statement, he candidly explains the duty he was trying to fulfill.

It was a bad attempt to build excitement for the game, but I am now acutely aware of how hurtful my actions were. I caused unnecessary embarrassment to my peers as well as people I have been close with in the past.

I bolded the sincere part of the apology. After the jump, a defense of Avery, and video of his top ten career moments.

Of course it's in very bad taste to use the term "sloppy seconds," but does anyone really want every hockey player to be civil, tactful? No!

Every professional sports league needs clean-cut heroes you'd bring home to Mom -- in the NHL, that's Sidney Crosby. But those guys need a foil, and Avery plays his villain's role perfectly. The fact that he's also a metrosexual thrilled about interning at Vogue only adds to the character's depth. And loathsomeness.

Besides, Phanouf and Cuthbert are both famous people with lots of money. If they think they've been slandered by the "sloppy seconds" crack, they can get their remedy in a civil suit.

Watch this Avery highlight reel and tell me he's not instant entertainment.



-- Thomas Francis

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