After being suspended indefinitely by the NHL on Tuesday for inappropriate comments Sean Avery is on his way to New York City for a hearing with commissioner Gary Bettman. Avery is expected to make the trip to New York with Stars co-general manager Brett Hull and will meet with the commissioner at noon et on Thursday.
The comments in question were made on Tuesday morning as the Stars were getting ready to face the Calgary Flames that evening. He made a suggestive reference to Avery's ex-girlfriend, actress Elisha Cuthbert, who is now dating Flames' Dion Phaneuf.
On Wednesday, Avery apologized for his comments.
''I would like to sincerely apologize for my off-colour remarks to the press yesterday from Calgary,'' Avery said in a statement obtained by SportingNews.com. ''I should not have made those comments and I recognize that they were inappropriate. It was a bad attempt to build excitement for the game, but I am now acutely aware of how hurtful my actions were. I caused unnecessary embarrassment to my peers as well as people I have been close with in the past.''
"I apologize for offending the great fans of the NHL, the Commissioner, my teammates, my coaching staff and the Dallas Stars Management and Ownership. As many of you know, I like to mix it up on and off the ice from time to time, but understand that this time I took it too far."
When contacted by TSN, Hull admitted Avery had caused problems for his teammates at a tough time for Dallas.
"I'm worried about how he let his teammates down in a time where half the team is injured and we're short manned and struggling for every point we can get," said Hull.
The Tuesday incident came on the heels of Avery's comments about Flames captain Jarome Iginla. During an interview with ESPN earlier in the season, Avery took some shots at the NHL and Iginla.
"Our commissioner hasn't realized that he needs to probably do a better job of marketing the game and certainly some of the players in it. Nobody cares about Jarome Iginla and guys like that. They're just not exciting enough. They don't bring enough to the game," he said.
The current situation is the latest in a long line of public troubles for Avery.
In last season's playoffs while playing for the New York Rangers, Avery created a stir by standing in front of Devils' goaltender Martin Brodeur and waving his hand. The NHL created a rule to stop it from happening again.
Following the final game of the series with the Devils, Brodeur refused to shake Avery's hand.
"Everyone talks about how much class I don't have," Avery said after the series. "Well it's the end of the series and men go to war against each other. I guess he forgot to shake my hand. I don't know if anyone saw that. Of course I was going to shake his hand."
Some other incidents of note:
2005: Makes comments about French Canadian players who wear visors after being hit by Denis Gauthier. "I think it was typical of most French guys in our league with a visor on, running around and playing tough and not back anything up." Avery would later apologize.
2005: Avery denies saying anything wrong after being accused by Georges Laraque of making a racial slur. The NHL looks into the incident but does not take action due to lack of evidence.
2006: Avery argues with Ducks announcer Brian Hayward. The forward refers to Hayward as an "embarrassment", "(terrible) announcer", and a "(terrible) player".
2006: The Kings send Avery home for last three games of the season.
2007: Avery is fined ($2,500) after a pre-game confrontation with Toronto's Darcy Tucker.
2008: Avery waves hand in front of Martin Brodeur to cause a distraction during Rangrs/Devils playoff series. Brodeur refuses to shake Avery's hand after series. The NHL later invokes a new rule making Avery's tactic illegal.
2008: Avery is taken to hospital with a lacerated spleen during series with Penguins. He is out for the rest of the playoffs.
2008: Serves as an intern with Vogue magazine.
2008: Makes comments to ESPN regarding Jarome Iginla not being exciting enough and what he believed to be failures by the NHL in marketing the game.
2008: Makes comments regarding his ex-girlfriends dating other NHL players and is suspended indefinitely by the league.