DALLAS - Sean Avery's stint with the Dallas Stars lasted just 23 games.
The NHL team announced Sunday morning that it was done with the feisty winger, noting that it was time for the Stars to have "closure on this episode."
Avery received a six-game suspension from commissioner Gary Bettman after saying earlier this month that other NHL players are after his "sloppy seconds." While that ban ended when Dallas played in Nashville on Saturday night, Avery will not return to hockey until the Stars can find somewhere else for him to play.
"Sean needs to focus on his own well-being while the Stars hockey team must focus on playing hockey and competing for a playoff spot,"co-general manager Brett Hull said in a statement. "Everyone understands that Sean will not return to the Dallas Stars.
"We all need to move forward."
Dallas signed Avery to a US$15.5-million, four-year contract over the summer and hoped he would help put the Western Conference finalists over the top. However, the 28-year-old never fit in on a team that is currently 27th overall in the league.
The Stars say that they will not challenge the conduct clause in Avery's contract and will explore any options for his future that are consistent with the anger management counselling he's receiving as part of his suspension.
"The message here is - no distractions," said Hull. "Sean can focus on resolving his personal issues and the Stars will have closure on this episode. The team needs to put its energies into winning."
Hull and Avery were once teammates with the Detroit Red Wings and the GM was integral in bringing him to Dallas over the summer.
The Stars were Avery's fourth NHL team and at least the second where things ended badly. The Los Angeles Kings sent him home midway through the 2006-07 season before trading him to the New York Rangers.
After this latest episode, it will likely be tough for the Stars to orchestrate a similar deal with another NHL team. They do have the option of putting him on waivers and sending him to the American Hockey League - although Dallas doesn't have an affiliate and would have to find an AHL team that wants him.
Further, they could subject Avery to re-entry waivers and split his salary with any NHL team that puts in a claim for him.
One thing that became fairly clear after Avery made his comments on Dec. 2 was that he had lost the faith of the organization. Owner Tom Hicks called him a "troubled young man" while coach Dave Tippett and several players made it clear they didn't want him back in the dressing room.
Now it's time for everyone to move on.
"We do care about Sean and want what is best for him," said Hull. "We've agreed to do what we can to help find him a place to play hockey once he addresses his personal issues."