Stars may not want Avery back

TERRY KOSHAN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:33 AM ET

Sean Avery's immediate future is in the hands of the National Hockey League.

But his playing days, in the long run, will be decided by the Dallas Stars, and there is no guarantee Avery will wear their sweater again.

"It's something the whole organization is going to have to talk about, starting with (owner) Tom Hicks," Stars co-general manager Brett Hull said in a telephone interview yesterday with Sun Media. "I'm sure he wants to see what comes out of the (hearing today in New York with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman)."

Avery's latest shenanigans concern comments he made Tuesday after the morning skate in Calgary, prior to the Stars game against the Flames. Avery, waiting until cameras were rolling, said: "I'm really happy to be back in Calgary. I love Canada. I just wanted to comment on how it's become like a common thing in the NHL for guys to fall in love with my sloppy seconds. I don't know what that's about, but enjoy the game tonight."

Avery's comments apparently were directed at Flames defenceman Dion Phaneuf, who is dating actress Elisha Cuthbert, a former girlfriend of Avery. Also, Los Angeles Kings' Jarret Stoll is engaged to model Rachel Hunter, another ex-squeeze of Avery.

In a statement obtained by SportingNews.com, Avery issued an apology last night, saying: "I should not have made those comments and I recognize they were inappropriate." He apologized to "the great fans of the NHL, the commissioner, my teammates, my coaching staff and the Dallas Stars management and ownership."

Avery, who prides himself on being the bad boy of the league, was suspended indefinitely pending today's hearing. He has missed the Stars' past two games because he could not resist the lure of getting his face on national television.

TSN reported last night that a number of Stars players would be happy if Avery were ditched.

Additionally, the team reportedly refused Avery when he asked through his publicist to address the team and apologize.

"I find it hard to believe that Sean can come back in that dressing room and find that continuity again. That's still up in the air, but that's my own personal feelings," coach Dave Tippett told reporters in Edmonton last night.

The Stars have several options. They can suspend Avery themselves, if it is legal, or they could send Avery to the minors, since it's likely no team would claim him. A buyout of Avery's contract could be done next summer, while voiding it would be tricky.

Hull, the man responsible for Dallas signing Avery during the summer for four years and $15.5 million US, thinks the player could use some medical help.

"Who cares about (Avery) the hockey player?" Hull said. "There could be bigger problems here. There has to be something wrong, because we have talked and talked and talked about these things with him. He does not have a filter. We might have to get some medical people to look at this situation."

NO REGRETS

Hull does not regret bringing Avery into the Stars circle, even though the stories of strife in the room have become commonplace in Avery's brief time in Dallas.

"The day I stop taking risks to make the Dallas Stars a better hockey club is the day I won't do the job anymore," Hull said. "This is unfortunate because Sean is a very good hockey player. He has worked hard and practised injured. We have had absolutely no issues with his effort."

But does that make Avery's words on Tuesday excusable.

"No, absolutely nothing does," Hull said.


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