Sean Avery has returned to the ice in his first competitive week of hockey since being suspended indefinitely by the Dallas Stars. Avery played his first game with New York Rangers’ affiliate, the Hartford Wolfpack, on February 14th. Most are familiar with his long history of controversial comments and a good summary of his antics can be found here. Allegations include, most notably, Avery chirping Jason Blake about battling cancer and making a statement to the press that he wonders why certain players (Dion Phaneuf) like his “sloppy seconds” (Elisha Cuthbert). Here’s a video of the latter.
Avery’s actions have led many throughout the hockey world to chastise him as being bad for a sport which takes pride in limiting these types of incidents. Comparisons have been drawn between Avery and Terrell Owens. This comparison leads me to wonder, would Drew Rosenhaus be a good fit to represent Avery? Next question.
“He wants to play hockey,” his agent, Pat Morris, said. “He wants to come back and help Dallas in the sense of putting them in a position to move him along.” Well he won’t be helping Dallas anytime soon, but expect to see him back in a Rangers uniform within the next few weeks. Avery’s first game with Hartford went well; he had several scoring chances and his presence elicited a fight on his second shift (surprise, surprise).
Avery’s agent obviously keeps busy, but at what cost? There certainly aren’t any companies waiting in line to sign Avery to an endorsement contract. Even local appearances are a long shot. On the other hand, just like T.O., Avery sells tickets. Hartford’s average attendance this season is 3,844. The attendance on the night of Avery’s return was 5,899. Fans could be seen wearing Avery’s number 16 Rangers jersey in the stands, eagerly anticipating his return, for better or worse. Could Avery be something of a marketing tool for Morris? “I represent Sean Avery, so I have dealt with the worst of the worst and, just like I have done for him, I will always be able to find you a team, ” Morris could say.
Misunderstood is a good word to describe Avery. He loves the game and wants it to grow as much as possible. Most of what he says and does is for that reason. Apparently he’s just too dumb to realize he’s going about it the wrong way.