Sean Avery still knows how to grab attention and stir things up in hockey games, but since being recalled from the AHL this season, he's been a much more level-headed player than we've seen in the past. In other words, he's been playing within the rules set forth by the league, however he still has encountered unfair bias against him when it comes to the NHL's officials.
I don't think that there's any questioning the fact that commissioner Gary Bettman is a happier man without Sean Avery in his league, but that's something he will have to live with - at least for now. Outside of the Rangers organization, the league views Avery as nothing but a problem, therefore we've seen a lack of impartiality when it's come to making calls against Avery for a while now.
Just last night we saw an example of that when Sean was tangled with Islanders forward Mike Mottau and purposely did not retaliate when Mottau dropped his gloves and grabbed Sean. Still, though, Avery was not only handed a penalty, but was also escorted to the locker room.
When asked why that penalty was called, Sean said this to ESPN:
"Obviously, we know why," Avery said. "I don't know. Why would they send me off? It was a regular penalty."
But a regular penalty for Sean Avery is much different than a regular penalty for most players in the NHL. To be honest, I agree with John Tortorella that the officials shouldn't have made any call on the play, they should've just let it go. But if anyone was to get a penalty, it should've been Mottau. And he did, for unsportsmanlike conduct, but Avery did nothing to warrant being thrown in the box, or in the locker room for that matter, for the same reason.
I guess that's just the league we are fans of, though. Favoring some while neglecting others. That's just fantastic for their image.