One of the stranger stories that took place during last night’s surprisingly jam-packed night of interesting preseason action came during a heated exchange between Ilya Kovalchuk of the New Jersey Devils and Sean Avery of the New York Rangers.
Some people – including Rangers GM Glen Sather – wondered if Kovalchuk made a “cutthroat” motion toward Avery, a gesture that earned Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Nick Boynton an opening night suspension. Kovalchuk was adamant that he was making a (Dr. Evil inspired?) motion for Avery to “zip it,” which is the equivalent to asking water to dry off a bit.
“I just told him to zip it,” Kovalchuk said after the Devils’ 5-4 overtime loss to the Rangers tonight. “I didn’t tell him I will kill him, so don’t suspend me.”
Rangers coach John Tortorella confirmed that Kovalchuk made a “zip your lip” motion and Avery himself said Kovalchuk should not be suspended for whatever gesture he made.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah. I saw the whole thing,” Tortorella said. “It was just shut your mouth. There was no slash.”
Say what you will about Sean Avery, the guy can create some entertaining exchanges, especially when it comes to the Rangers’ rivals in New Jersey. Larry Brooks of the New York Post gets Avery’s side of the story.
Avery said he didn’t care what was said or what gesture was made.
“I don’t think anyone should be suspended for what they say,” he said.
But Avery said referee Paul Devorksi told him that he had gotten his 10-minute misconduct for going after a superstar.
“He specifically told me I got it because [Kovalchuk] is a superstar, and I can’t go after a superstar,” Avery said of the dialog that took place in the box with 9:07 to go in the second. “I told him I make $4 million. I’m a superstar, too.”
Oh, Sean, you scamp. It’s a bit ridiculous that this is a story, but the Boynton suspension sets a precedent of hand motions leading to suspensions. Considering some of the things that are said on the ice, it’s kind of ridiculous that non-verbal communication will earn you a spot in the press box, but why would the league begin to use logic in its suspensions when throwing darts blindfolded is so much more fun?