Avery could lose crown

BRUCE GARRIOCH

, Last Updated: 10:59 AM ET

The Los Angeles Kings apparently are tired of Sean Avery's act.

League sources told Sun Media yesterday that Kings general manager Dean Lombardi has offered the 26-year-old forward around the league, but noted the asking price isn't cheap.

It's believed the Kings want a first-round pick in exchange for Avery, who is a pest on the ice, but may have worn out his welcome in Los Angeles.

Making $1.1 million US this season, Avery, a restricted free agent at the end of the year, didn't do himself any favours when he was involved in an incident that cost the club Scott Thornton, who wound up with a broken right wrist.

While sources told the Los Angeles Times that Avery and Thornton were just "fooling around" in the dressing room in Edmonton when the injury took place, it may have been the last straw for Lombardi.

Avery was thrown off the Kings at the end of last season by former GM Dave Taylor when he got into a fight on the ice with assistant coach Mark Hardy.

Avery was given a second chance by Lombardi, but was told he had to behave. There will be several teams -- including the Senators, Habs, Islanders, Oilers and Coyotes -- interested in Avery, but many believe Lombardi is going to have to lower his asking price if he wants a deal.

MINNY MOVING MANNY?

Minnesota might be looking to move goaltender Manny Fernandez.

The whisper on the NHL trade front is Wild GM Doug Risebrough is toying with the possibility of moving the club's top netminder by the Feb. 27 trade deadline.

Moving Fernandez wouldn't be difficult -- Philly, Boston and Tampa are looking for goaltending help.

OFF THE GLASS

As reported in this space last week, NHL players have elected to launch an investigation into the hiring of NHLPA executive director Ted Saskin. Many players want to know if the proper process was followed and there could be a change to the constitution once it's completed. Lightning captain Tim Taylor said he supported the investigation if only to see it all go away. "The only reason I voted for it is to get it over with," Taylor said. "If that is what it takes to get it over with, that's fine." Added Taylor: "The NHLPA, it's kind of embarrassing to be a member right now. It's more screwed up than it ever was." ... The Habs will retire goalie Ken Dryden's No. 29 prior to their game tomorrow against the Senators. Somebody had better tell Dryden, the goalie-turned-politician, that he had better keep his speech short or the teams won't hit the ice until midnight.

AROUND THE BOARDS

There were some raised eyebrows when Florida coach and GM Jacques Martin elected to hire former Senators boss Randy Sexton as his assistant GM on Friday. While Sexton has been out of the game for a decade, there was a strong belief NHL VP Mike Murphy was going to get the post. It's believed Murphy is waiting to see if he can get a job as a GM ... The Blues, shockingly back in the race for a playoff spot in the Western Conference, suddenly aren't so keen to sell off their pending unrestricted free agents -- Keith Tkachuk, Bill Guerin, Eric Brewer, Manny Legace and Radek Dvorak. "When it gets closer to the end of February, we'll figure out which avenue we're going to go," St. Louis president John Davidson said. The Blues have had a resurgence since coach Andy Murray replaced Mike Kitchen.

RUMOURS DU JOUR

The Habs and Rangers have shown an interest in Coyotes winger Ladislav Nagy, but as long as Phoenix remains in the playoff run in the West he's unavailable. Habs GM Bob Gainey is trying to move winger Sergei Samsonov. Good luck ... The future of Flyers centre Peter Forsberg is all the rage in Philly these days. Eleven teams have called to check on his availability -- including the Wings, Rangers, Sharks and Ducks -- but the most interested team could be the Canucks. The club lost centre Ryan Kesler for the season with a hip injury. If the remainder of his $1.9 million salary can be taken off the books, the Canucks will have room for Forsberg's salary. It's believed the Flyers are looking for a top prospect and a No. 1 pick in return for Forsberg. However, before he can be dealt, he'll have to waive his no-trade clause ... The Capitals are expected to move winger Richard Zednik before the deadline ... Islanders winger Jason Blake may have been selected an NHL all-star, but don't be surprised if he's dealt soon ... Boston GM Peter Chiarelli is dying to make a deal for a blueliner. The latest rumour has defenceman Brad Stuart and winger Marco Sturm going to the Oilers in exchange for defencemen Jason Smith and Marc-Andre Bergeron.


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