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Holland: 'Avery hasn't matured'

by Dan Rosen and Adam Kimelman
Detroit already had its time with Sean Avery, and Ken Holland, the Detroit General Manager, told the controversial forward would not be welcome back should the Dallas Stars be looking to trade the super-pest forward.

"Not in Detroit," Holland said when asked if he thinks Avery still has a place in the League. "I can't speak for 29 teams, but not in Detroit."

Avery, who was suspended Friday for six games by the NHL for disparaging off-ice comments he made Tuesday morning, was a member of the Red Wings organization from 1999-2003. He started his NHL career by playing 36 games with Detroit in 2001-02.

The Red Wings, with Holland pulling the trigger, traded him midway through the following season.

"The only thing I would say is obviously we had him as a young player at that time and our concern was his lack of respect for the game, the people in the game and, obviously, he left us," Holland said. "He has worked his way through a few organizations now and it's apparent that he hasn't matured."

Dallas is Avery's fourth NHL stop. He also has played in Los Angeles and with the New York Rangers before signing a four-year free-agent deal with Dallas this summer.

Avery drew attention to himself and the League this week thanks to comments he made after Dallas' morning skate Tuesday at the Pengrowth Saddledome in Calgary that were partly in reference to Flames defenseman Dion Phaneuf, who is dating Avery's ex-girlfriend, actress Elisha Cuthbert.

Holland was asked if he thinks, despite all of Avery's transgressions, that he's good for the game because of the publicity he creates through his actions.

"Well, I guess the question is, is negative publicity good? I don't think so," Holland said. "With the Internet and as the way the world has evolved, especially since the early '90s, I think everybody wants positive publicity. I think what we're all looking for is positive publicity and I don't think that negative publicity is what we're looking for."

Like Holland, Jay Feaster has led a team to the Stanley Cup, so he knows what it takes to bring together a disparate group of players and have it gel in a manner that allows for the cohesion necessary for the sacrifices required in winning hockey's ultimate prize.


"Avery could be part of the slow start they have had..."


"Some may call Avery a master at self promotion..."


"NHL has long been a League of class and good guys..."

"As someone who managed a team to a Stanley Cup, I have no place for him on my hockey club," Feaster told "The only way it works is if we're selfless as a group. Everything he's about is Sean Avery. It's the epitome of selfishness. It has nothing to do with the team perspective at all. I don't know how you win with a guy like Sean Avery."

Feaster, who led Tampa Bay to the 2004 Stanley Cup, admits that other teams -- including Dallas -- might see the situation differently. He believes it will be hard for Avery to re-enter the Stars' dressing room after his suspension expires after the game against Nashville on Dec. 13.

"You can apologize and hang your head and try, but it's going to take an awful lot," said Feaster. "I think to the extent he keeps his nose clean and works his butt off for the good of the team; but it's going to take time. It’s not like turning on and off a light switch."

And if things become untenable in Dallas, Feaster belives another team could be willing to roll the dice on Avery.

"The thing about the National Hockey League, there's 30 teams trying to win one prize, so it's a League of second chances," Feaster said. "If there's a team that believes in his abilities as a player, a team that believes it has a locker room that can keep that ego from running wild, that they're going to squash any attempt to let him be the odd duck in the room, and it's going to take a manager who says, 'I don't care what the fans say, this will all work out eventually, I know more than you, it's going to be OK.' It's going to be that kind of scenario for him to be welcome in open arms anywhere."

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