Sean Avery’s been in a lot of hot water lately, for good reason. After all, you can’t just go and drop bombs about “sloppy seconds” on the American and Canadian public and expect to get away with it Scot free. Still, he probably didn’t see this coming: Avery is done with the Dallas Stars, and the man to make it official was an old friend, former teammate turned Stars co-GM Brett Hull.
(If he’d just left it in there, he’d still be employed.)
As of this afternoon, Avery was officially cut loose from Dallas, though no one has any idea how exactly that’s going to work. Avery was just 23 games into a massive four-year, $15.5 million deal with the Stars when NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman laid the smack down and sent him to the showers for six games. While Dallas didn’t announce any additional punishment at the time, the maelstrom of media discontent over Avery’s comments since clearly made his continuing in Texas a bit hard to stomach, for everyone involved.
Still, the strangest aspect of Avery’s dismissal may be the very public involvement of Dallas GM Brett Hull, who is a former teammate of Avery’s in 2001-2002 in Detroit. How close were they? About as close as two hockey players can get: They were roomates. In fact, Hull took the young Avery under his wing as a mentor, and that was believed to be part of the motivation for Avery heading from the northeast down to one of the NHL’s southernmost outposts over the offseason. After all, if a kid-Avery could live in Hull’s home — and he did as a rookie — than how could he possibly burn him as a pro?
Well, he did, and it hurt so bad that Hull isn’t wasting any time cutting him loose.
(Yeah, we’d be pissed if she left, too.)
What is Hull saying about Avery now? It’s not a total condemnation, but it doesn’t say much about Avery’s character, either.
“Disappointed? Yeah. Frustrated? Yeah. You can pick [an emotion], they’ve probably been there over the last few weeks,” he said. “We’re going to continue to do things that we think can help bring a championship to Dallas.”
“We don’t want to ruin Sean or his career. We want him to get better. The team needs to move on and start winning and he needs to take care of himself. … As a hockey player, I think there’s no question he can be an asset. That said, he’s got to fix the demons he has. It becomes such a huge distraction that it almost takes away from his ability to play the game.”
Well, there you go Sean Avery. You’re such a distraction that your mentor just euphemistically called you a team-stunting cancer.
Maybe Avery will be able to resuscitate his career somewhere else in the league. Despite being the perennial league-leader in playoff minutes, Avery can be a valuable asset as an agitator and enforcer. But with the media hype surrounding his departure, there may not be many takers. The Stars won’t cut him because of his enormous salary.
(Sean Avery in Dallas. A very, very brief marriage.)
In the end, Avery may end up playing in the AHL. Yet even that doesn’t seem like a quick fix; the Stars’ AHL affiliate in Manitoba says it wants nothing to do with Avery according toTSN.
So where does Avery go from here? Back home, where he’ll have plenty of time to try and attract a new high-profile mate who he can eventually insult in public. That does seem to be his forte these days.