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Avery placed on re-entry waivers

by Shawn P. Roarke
The worst-kept secret in hockey no longer is a secret. As expected, Sean Avery was officially placed on re-entry waivers at noon ET on Monday, according to the team's public relations staff.

Stars General Manager Les Jackson also said in a TV broadcast Sunday night that he planned to put Avery on re-entry waivers Monday. NHL Insider Bob McKenzie, speaking on NHL Live!, also confirmed Avery's placement on re-entry waivers.

Many observers believe Avery may land with the New York Rangers, his most recent stop before Dallas.

The Rangers allowed Avery to play with their American Hockey League affiliate, the Hartford Wolf Pack, after Avery cleared waivers after being re-instated by the League last month.

The Stars had placed Avery on waivers Feb. 7 and assigned him to Hartford Feb. 10 after he cleared waivers a day earlier

Avery had been on the NHL sidelines since incurring a six-game NHL suspension Dec. 2 because of inappropriate comments he made about the personal lives of other NHL players. In the wake of that suspension, Avery agreed to undergo anger-management counseling.

Avery's stint on re-entry waivers will last 24 hours and every team has the opportunity to put in a claim. If there are multiple claims, the team with the fewest points in the standings on the day of the claim would be awarded the player.

Under the terms of re-entry waivers in the collective bargaining agreement, the claiming team would be responsible for half of Avery's remaining salary -- for this season, and the final three years of the four-year, $15.5 million deal he signed this summer as an unrestricted free agent. The Stars would assume the rest of Avery's financial liability.

Avery has 2 goals and 1 assist in six games with Hartford.

He had 3 goals, 7 assists and what was then a League-high 77 penalty minutes in his 23 appearances with the Stars before his suspension. But Avery never meshed with his new teammates in Dallas and the team struggled mightily before his suspension, only to come on strong during his exile to get back in the Western Conference playoff picture.

Despite his struggles in Dallas, Avery has proven he can be an effective player -- especially in New York. He was a big part of last season's Rangers squad, which made it to the second round of the playoffs. In 86 games, spread across two seasons in New York, Avery had 23 goals, 30 assists and 154 penalty minutes.

It had been speculated that New York's eagerness to claim Avery would dim when the club hired John Tortorella last week as coach, replacing the dismissed Tom Renney. Tortorella, the former coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning, was serving as a television commentator this season before being hired by the Rangers and was critical of Avery's behavior this season.

But Rangers GM Glen Sather clearly believes Avery can help his team, which is in a desperate fight to stay in the Eastern Conference playoff picture.

At the time of Tortorella's hiring, Sather spoke briefly about the Avery issue and how it might be impacted by the appearance of Tortorella in the dressing room.

"He doesn't have the history with Sean that we do," Sather said. "Over time, you learn to love him, just like I do."

--with file from staff writer Adam Kimelman
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