I think the leadership of MLB, NFL and NBA should all take note at what the NHL did yesterday when confronted with a situation that demanded an immediate response: They dealt with it immediately. No off-season Rules Committee boondoggles. No seeking consensus amongst the owners. Find it, fix it, now.
Here's the setup: Steve Avery, recognized as one the best/worst (depending on your affiliations) cheap shot artist in the NHL, was waving his stick blade in front of Devils' goalie Martin Brodeur. This was not against the rules, though it clearly violated the spirit of the interference rule.
Here's the evidence:
Here's the result: Within hours of Avery's shenanigans, the NHL amended the rule to specifically include language that makes this sort of stuff a penalty:
"An unsportsmanlike conduct minor penalty will be interpreted and applied, effective immediately, to a situation when an offensive player positions himself facing the opposition goaltender and engages in actions such as waving his arms or stick in front of the goaltender's face, for the purpose of improperly interfering with and/or distracting the goaltender as opposed to positioning himself to try to make a play," Colin Campbell, the NHL director of hockey operations, said in a statement.That is how you operate a league. Act quickly and assertively. Right a wrong before others do it. The NFL should have done something with the new "call a timeout as the ball is snapped before a FG attempt" rage. The NHL has it's own set of issues to deal with, but when you see swift leadership, you have to be at least a little confident that they can help re-emerge as a major sport in the USA.
The (non-)Vegas odds have Avery taking a stick to the ribs, or worse, in the next game.
More on Avery: "The players do not *love* Sean Avery, and voted him to be dirtiest SOB. One player even suggested banning him for life. That's a little extreme, but shows you how annoying the little pucker really is."