Avery to continue counseling; won't rejoin Stars

TSN.ca Staff
12/14/2008 8:29:05 PM
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Even with his six-game suspension being over, troubled Stars forward Sean Avery will not be returning to Dallas.

The Stars said on Sunday that representatives for both Avery and the team said they would continue to work together in support of Avery during "this critical time" for the player.

All parties said there is a clear understanding that a return to the Stars is not in the best interest of either the hockey club or Avery.    

"Sean needs to focus on his own well-being while the Stars hockey team must focus on playing hockey and competing for a playoff spot," said Stars Co-General Manager Brett Hull. "Everyone understands that Sean will not return to the Dallas Stars. We all need to move forward."

Stars management also said the team would not seek to challenge Avery's contract under the conduct clause included in the Standard Player's Contract.

The agreement's Paragraph 2 (e) directs all NHL players "to refrain from conduct detrimental to the best interest of the Club, the League or professional hockey generally." Avery was suspended by the NHL last week for comments he made prior to a game with Calgary.

"The message here is: no distractions. Sean can focus on resolving his personal issues," said Hull, "and the Stars will have closure on this episode. The team needs to put its energies into winning."

The Stars said the team will continue to honor Avery's contract while exploring all options for his hockey future consistent with the terms of his counseling.

"We do care about Sean and want what is best for him," said Hull. "We've agreed to do what we can to help find him a place to play hockey once he addresses his personal issues."

"I honestly believe the issues that Sean had really kind of festered when he came to Dallas," Hull said in a conference call.  "And things didn't work out for him as he had planned, as we had planned."

"But I think a lot of those things, I think you could say were kind of brought on by himself," Hull said. "It's a two-way street. Sure, you have to be accepted but you have to do everything you can to be accepted as well. It was just a bad situation."

"We don't want to ruin Sean or his career," Hull added. "We want him to get better and we needed, obviously, to part ways with Sean and it's amicable that way as well."

The recent incident in Calgary was not the first spot of trouble in which Avery has found himself. As a member of the Los Angeles Kings, he made disparaging remarks about French Canadian players wearing visors after being hit during a game by Denis Gauthier. He later apologized. He also got into arguments with Anaheim Ducks broadcaster Brian Hayward and Kings assistant coach Mark Hardy.

In last season's Eastern Conference quarterfinals while playing for the New York Rangers, Avery created a stir by standing in front of New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur and waving his hand. The NHL created a rule to stop the activity 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."

During the Rangers next series with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Avery was taken to hospital with a lacerated spleen. He missed the rest of the playoffs.

Earlier this season, Avery made comments to ESPN regarding Jarome Iginla not being exciting enough and addressed what he believed to be failures by the NHL in marketing hockey and its star players.

"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.

Dallas signed Avery to a four-year, $15 million contract this past summer. He had three goals and seven assists with a plus-2 rating over his 23 games this season prior to the suspension.


Sean Avery (Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)


(Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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