NHL notes: Avery a big fish with Whale

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:27 PM ET

Sean Avery cleared waivers Wednesday and has returned home to New York to begin the next stage of his hockey career.

The controversial winger, who was placed on waivers Tuesday by the New York Rangers, has been assigned to the Connecticut Whale of the AHL.

Pat Morris, Avery's agent, said the 31-year-old would report to the minor-league team and dedicate himself to getting back to the NHL or to a team in Europe.

Morris told Hockey Night in Canada Radio that there is a place for Avery in the NHL.

"A team that is lacking in feistiness (could use Avery)," Morris said. "He's a gritty player ... And certainly, he's lively.

"He's controversial and that would lead to a place that would need to draw some fans."

Avery, in the last year of his contract, is scheduled to make $4 million.

PARISE GETS CAPTAINCY

Zach Parise, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent after this season, has been named captain of the New Jersey Devils.

The 27-year-old left winger was anointed the ninth captain in Devils history Wednesday. Forwards Ilya Kovalchuk and Patrik Elias were named alternates.

Parise replaces Jamie Langenbrunner, who was traded to the Dallas Stars last season.

Parise signed a one-year contract in the off-season, but he and his agent have said there will be discussions for along-term extension. A six-year veteran of the Devils, he played just 13 games last season because of a knee injury.

The Devils also signed Petr Sykora to a one-year contract worth a reported $650,000. The 34-year-old winger, who started his career with the Devils in 1995, attended camp on a tryout.

Sykora played with Dynamo Minsk of the KHL and Czech team Plzen last season.

BRIEFLY

The Phoenix Coyotes have signed forward Paul Bissonnette, 26, to a two-year contract extension. The 6-foot-2, 215-pound winger had one goal in 48 games last season, leading the Coyotes with 71 penalty minutes ... Faced with the prospect of a month without Marc Staal (concussion), the Rangers are talking with free-agent defenceman Paul Mara, the New York Post reports. Mara, 32, played with Anaheim and Montreal last season. Staal was placed on injured reserve Wednesday and Tim Erixon, 20, was recalled from Connecticut ... Brendan Bell and Stu Bickel cleared waivers Wednesday but will remain with the Rangers in Sweden.


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