Friday, December 5, 2008

NHL Hands Avery a Six-Game Suspension; Now What?

Sean Avery received a six-game suspension from the league this morning. The suspension is retroactive to the Calgary game, so he's already served two of the six games. His first eligible game back would be on Dec. 16 when the Stars host the Phoenix Coyotes at the AAC.

I won't go on too long about this, because lord knows it's everywhere on the net, newspapers and television lately, but there are a few things.

The length of the suspension really didn't matter, other than to set precedence. The players and coaching staff of the Stars have already made their feelings known about Avery, and he's not going to be welcomed back after the suspension is served. Barring a significant change of rhetoric and heart, Sean Avery has probably played his last game for the Stars.

What remains to be seen is how the Stars will handle his contract. Mike Heika has some really great thoughts on this the other day in a DMN article. The first option the Stars have, as he said, is to trade him. I can't imagine anyone crazy enough to take on this mess, but as a friend of mine said the other day, how else did Bryan Marchment have such a long career. Valid point, no? But, I would say the chances are pretty slim of an NHL team wanting to work out a trade for him. He'd be going cheap, I guarantee! After that option, he'll most likely be waived, and if he passes through waivers, he eligible for designation to an AHL club. This is *if* an AHL club wants him. As the Stars are without a full, official, AHL affiliate this year, any of the AHL teams are an option. The only way I could see this working is if a team is trying to up attendance numbers. They might take him on simply for the spectacle of it. And, at the AHL level, I'm sure Avery could be a 20 goal scorer. That's something he has yet to do in his NHL career.

One AHL club with which the Stars have ties - a partial affiliation - are the Manitoba Moose. The Moose (Meese?) have already said they're not interested in taking him. There have been rumors and speculation about other clubs, but nothing concrete. But, it will be interesting to see what becomes of Avery. I foresee his Stars jersey being DEEPLY discounted in the StarCenters in the near future.

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