February 7, 2013
Former NHLer Sean Avery: 'I said some of the worst things that you could ever possibly imagine'
By QMI Agency
Nobody was a bigger pest on the ice in his heyday than Sean Avery, and the former NHLer knew it.
“Over the 12 years that I played I said some of the worst things that you could ever possibly imagine. And every time I did it because I thought that it was going to give me or my team an advantage,” Avery told TSN’s Michael Landsberg on Thursday’s episode of Off The Record.
“You can pull hundreds of examples of things that I said over my career, but the bottom line is I was extremely good at it.”
And who could forget some of the things Avery said? They ranged from making fun of Los Angeles Kings teammate Dustin Brown’s lisp to referring to ex-girlfriend Elisha Cuthbert, when she began dating then-Calgary Flames defenceman Dion Phaneuf, as “sloppy seconds.”
Avery’s antics weren’t limited to words. Among his most controversial actions on the ice was an incident that occurred during a first-round playoff game in 2008. Avery, then a member of the the New York Rangers, turned away from the play and waved his stick in front of New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur’s face. The next day, the NHL issued an interpretation of the unsportsmanlike conduct rule to cover actions such as those employed by Avery.
In Avery’s mind, his success was based on his antics.
“I was what I was. I remember Steve Yzerman telling me to just play because you’re a good player. It didn’t matter,” he said. “Nothing was going to change how I approached the game and how I played. Nobody was going to tell me differently.”
Avery, 32, also opened up about his early retirement, saying felt boxed in by the league.
“The reason I decided to stop and move in a different direction was certainly the restrictions that were put on me from early on,” he said. “I think that I pushed the boundaries as far as I could push them.”
Avery has spent his post-retirement days as a board member of Athlete Ally, an organization that encourages people in sports to be open and understanding of others’ sexual orientations.
In 12 seasons with the Detroit Red Wings, Kings, Rangers and Dallas Stars, Avery accumulated 90 goals, 157 assists and 1,533 penalty minutes in 580 games.