Avery fined $1,000 for comments
Avery was upset that he was cited for his second diving offense of the season in a Nov. 3 game at Phoenix. He was not penalized during the game.
"How can a guy sitting in an office in New York determine if you dived or not by watching a tape?" Avery told the Los Angeles Times. "They don't know if you had a bad ankle or torn bursa sac or something. I can't even tell you what play they are talking about. They don't have to tell you a play, just what game they are looking at.
"No question that this is a way [for the league] to do something to me. It has nothing to do with diving. How can Colin Campbell, or whoever it is, sit at a desk and make that call? They should send the tape to all seven members of the competition committee and let them look at it."
Campbell, the NHL's director of hockey operations, wasn't amused.
"Mr. Avery's comments showed a complete lack of respect for all those associated with our game, most importantly his fellow players," Campbell said. "Mr. Avery has besmirched the reputation of all NHL players, coaches, general managers and owners who, collectively, have been successful in providing a more entertaining game for our fans."
Thirty to 40 players have received warning letters from the league for diving, including Avery on Oct. 19 at Colorado, but Avery is the first to get nailed a second time, which carries the fine. As per the direction of the NHL's competition committee, a group that includes four players, a third diving incident results in a $2,000 fine and a fourth offense warrants a one-game suspension.
Several NHL coaches have privately complained that diving is way up this season as a result of the tighter enforcement of the rules.
"We knew it would be one of the impediments to the enforcement of hooking and holding and interference was the diving or the embellishment of those calls to draw a penalty and it was going to hurt our objective," Campbell told The Canadian Press.
"We knew this would happen, because players are competitive and they do what they have to do to win the game. So this is how the players and the managers have asked us to do handle it."
Avery believes the league is out to get him because of controversial comments he has made in the past, including this year when he was warned by the league for saying a hit by Phoenix defenseman Denis Gauthier on Kings center Jeremy Roenick "was typical of most French guys in our league with a visor on, running around and playing tough and not back anything up."
Avery later apologized, but was then accused of racism by Edmonton's Georges Laraque.
"It's in the collective bargaining agreement," Avery said. "That's something our great competition committee did."
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press
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