Saturday, February 04, 2006

Penalty Minute Leader

Sean Avery of the Los Angeles Kings leads the NHL in penalty minutes and he leads by a large margin. He has 195 penalty minutes so far this year. Second is Chris Neil of the Ottawa Senators who has 129 minutes (Avery has over 50% more penalty minutes).

Avery has received a lot of press for some of his stupid comments and racial slurs but not nearly as much for his huge penalty minute lead.

Taking a lot of stupid penalties and leaving your team short handed frequently is a bad thing, but when you draw a lot of retaliation penalties and draw players out of their game as they try to attack you (instead of defeat your hockey team) is a positive result. More often then not, Avery is a persistent agitator drawing players off of their game.

Avery is a solid NHL player. His 28 points have him tied for 7th in scoring on the Los Angeles Kings. He plays a game on the edge of control and "gets under the skin" of his opponents. This makes him very valuable to the Kings. In most Los Angeles games, he is one of the more obvious players on the ice. You have to notice him and you have to take his presence into account when you play against the team.

Avery is the kind of player that everybody hates, unless he plays for their team. That is one of the "supreme compliments" a hardworking player can earn. I have a lot of respect for Sean Avery and what he does. I think its overdue for somebody to sing his praises as a valuable hockey player.

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