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Sean Avery suspended after making comments about fellow player's girlfriend

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CALGARY — Sean Avery is in hot water again and his Dallas Stars aren't about to pull him out.

The Stars super-pest was suspended indefinitely by the NHL on Tuesday for conduct "detrimental to the league or game of hockey." The league imposed the ban "following inappropriate public comments, not pertaining to the game made by Avery earlier (Tuesday)."

The NHL did not elaborate on the remarks but Avery, in Calgary for a game Tuesday night, sought out the television cameras and made comments that seemed to refer to the private life of Flames defenceman Dion Phaneuf.

"I'm really happy to be back in Calgary. I love Canada," the Stars forward said. "I just want 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 ex-girlfriend, actress Elisha Cuthbert, is dating Phaneuf and had been romantically linked to Mike Komisarek of the Montreal Canadiens. Avery also dated model and actress Rachel Hunter, the girlfriend of Los Angeles Kings centre Jarrett Stoll.

The Stars were so shocked by their own player's conduct that they publicly supported the suspension.

"I think everyone in our room believes there is an integrity that has to go along with the game, respect for the game and respect for your opponents and Sean crossed that line," Stars head coach Dave Tippett told reporters prior to the game.

"I think the words, the words and disrespect for an opponent like that is something . . . there's lots of trash talking that goes on on the ice, but that to announce something like that for everybody to hear, to me that crosses the line and the league and our ownership felt that too."

Dallas concludes a two-game Alberta swing in Edmonton on Wednesday, but Avery will not be with the team.

"He won't continue with us on the trip," Tippett said. "We've always professed that there is nobody that's ever bigger than our group or bigger than the team."

The ban may have saved Avery from on-ice retribution from the hard-nosed Phaneuf, who is one of the fiercest hitters in the NHL. The suspension is indefinite pending a hearing with commissioner Gary Bettman.

Stars owner Tom Hicks released a statement saying that he fully agreed with the league's decision.

"Had the league not have suspended him, the Dallas Stars would have," said Hicks. "This organization will not tolerate such behaviour, especially from a member of our hockey team. We hold our team to a higher standard and will continue to do so."

The team probably should have known what it was getting when it signed Avery to a US$15.5-million, four-year contract in July.

By then, he had already established a reputation of being a talented player who constantly pushes the envelope.

The Stars are his third team in as many seasons and fourth overall. While playing in Detroit, Los Angeles and New York, he showed an ability to score and get under the skin of opponents but also frequently found himself in hot water.

The NHL put in a so-called "Avery Rule" after he set up in front of New Jersey goalie Martin Brodeur and blocked the goalie's view by waving his hand and stick during last year's playoffs. He's also previously been fined for diving and criticizing NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell.

He's quickly wearing out his welcome in Dallas. Veteran forward Mike Modano spoke out last month after watching Avery and Steve Ott become a sideshow during a game in Boston.

"It was one of the most embarrassing things I've seen," said Modano. "If that's what we're going for, then they need to find me an office job."

Just a few months removed from an appearance in the Western Conference final, the Stars are among the worst teams in the league, and Avery broke an unwritten rule by giving an opposing team extra incentive to want to beat the Stars.

"We've had lots of discussions about how we need him to be a good player on our team and the stuff that follows him around off the ice, the less distraction the better," Tippett said. "It has been limited, other than some stuff that had been said this summer, it had been pretty limited until today.

"Sean said some thing that just doesn't paint our organization in a good light and appropriate steps are being taken."

When asked if Avery's relationship with the Stars is repairable, Tippett responded: "Time will tell."

Avery has never shunned the spotlight. A clothes horse, he spent time as an intern with Vogue magazine this summer. New Line Cinema has even commissioned a script about his double life.

On the ice, he is human sandpaper. Newsweek dubbed Avery "the human equivalent of jock itch."

Asked the best thing about his reputation as a pest, he told the New York Times: "It's better than being known as soft."

In the past, he's occasionally painted his fingernails black to distract an opponent during a fight.

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What a joke that the NHL are taking this so seriously. Really? We're going to suspend a guy indefinitely for a comment he made about an ex-girlfriend? I started cracking up when I saw the video clip. It would be one thing if he was making racial remarks, but he wasn't.

The NHL wants to be taken seriously as a sport in the U.S., yet spend most of their time getting paranoid over stupid sh** like this. Avery is a douche, but this isn't worth the NHL's time. Gary Bettman should stick to what he knows best, which is finding ways to drive the NHL further into the ground.

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He is the classic instigator and Mr. Annoyment. He is the type you like on your team and hate him if he is not on your team. He is a big jerk though so I am happy he is not on the Rangers anymore. I want guys with some form of class.

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He is the classic instigator and Mr. Annoyment. He is the type you like on your team and hate him if he is not on your team. He is a big jerk though so I am happy he is not on the Rangers anymore. I want guys with some form of class.

we still live in America...right?

free speech do we still have it?

to be suspended for a sloppy seconds comment is nuts

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