I was reading some of your comments on Sean Avery over the past couple of days, and it got me thinking. I understand why many of you don't want to talk about him, don't like him or simply want to put the subject to bed after a long and frustrating season. I also understand the logic of asking us to update every other former Stars player and his progress if we are going to update you on Avery.
But the reason I think Avery is an interesting case study worthy of discussion is because his story is still unfolding in a timely fashion (he just got picked up by the Rangers in early March) and because he touches so many different aspects of the team and the league.
Let's start with this: Why has he been so successful in New York? Is it because he tries harder there, that he fits in better there, that he learned his lesson in Dallas and is a new man now? Or is it simply (as so many Rangers fans will tell you) that they know how to handle him and the Stars did not? And if it is the latter, why did the Stars not know how to handle him? Is it because the two organizations are philosophically different? Do the Stars preach team over everything, while the Rangers allow for individuality? Is it good that each team has its own identity, and are you happy the Stars run their organization the way they do? And if you do feel that way, should we as fans cut players like Mike Modano some slack for being able to be able to fall in line more often than not, to put the organization ahead of himself for a great deal of his career?
Can the Avery debate reach that far? If you don't feel the structured system is best, can you ask why the Stars weren't able to adapt to Avery? He obviously has talent. He can skate, he can agitate, he can score goals. When you watch him now and see what his high-end potential is, do you cut Brett Hull a little more slack for liking what he saw? Could Avery have been the final piece if the team was healthy or was it simply the wrong player at the wrong time? (I still believe it was the wrong player, but it sure doesn't look as foolish now that you see what the guy can do when he's on his game).
And that leads to the question about the front office. If Hull was allowed to pursue his vision of a team, would it work out? Would he be able to blend the many personalities the way that the Rangers seem to be doing right now? Would Hull take the Stars in a different direction and push it over the top, as many of you would like to do? Stars owner Tom Hicks said he wanted Hull to be a co-GM to give a different point of view, but if a different point of view is not going to fit in a very structured organization, then what good is it?
And last, but maybe most entertaining, does Avery's success on Broadway and the current use of him as a marketing tool (by the NHL, NBC and Versus) strike just a bit of an ironic chord in this sport? I honestly believe Avery was trying to prove he was a brilliant marketer when he uttered those offensive words in Calgary back in December. He wanted to show the NHL that he knew how to bring in a crowd. And you know what, he was right. His technique was wrong, but his vision was right. And now, the league is telling him as much by using ``Sean-cam'' and placing him on the biggest stages. I wonder if they conferred with him on marketing ideas when he was away at behavioral therapy (and why aren't they sending more players away for behavioral therapy).
Anyway, in a very long-winded way, that is the reason I believe we need to talk about Sean Avery. So to quote my good friend R. Durrett: ``You thoughts?'' _Mike Heika