Sean Avery's Fine: Trash Talk, Anger Management, and More

Martin AverySenior Writer IFebruary 8, 2009

Dallas Stars left winger Sean Avery was suspended from the NHL indefinitely by Commissioner Gary Bettman.

For the record, the NHL's No. 1 bad boy did not get that punishment for violence or for fighting.

Avery's stay with the Dallas Stars ended when he made crude comments Dec. 2 to reporters about former girlfriends. He was suspended for six games and then not invited back by the Dallas Stars.

Avery’s ex-girlfriend, actress Elisha Cuthbert of the television show 24 and the movies Old School and The Quiet, was dating Calgary defenseman Dion Phaneuf. She also had been romantically linked to Mike Komisarek of the Montreal Canadiens.

Avery also dated Rachel Hunter, the former Sports Illustrated swimsuit cover model, Playboy model, and actress who was once the girlfriend of Los Angeles Kings center Jarrett Stoll.

Officially, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman suspended Avery indefinitely from the NHL for using a crude term about his former girlfriends dating other hockey players. Unofficially, Avery was suspended because this isn't the first time he has made headlines for his comments and actions.

Don Cherry claimed Avery was suspended for breaking "the code," an unwritten rule that says trash talk is all right on the ice but not in the media.

Avery had never been suspended before, but he had been in trouble with Bettman and with the NHL's disciplinarian, Colin Campbell, a few times.

While he was with the Los Angeles Kings, Avery was the first NHL player fined for diving. Campbell was not amused by Avery's comments, so he fined him an additional $1,000.

As a Ranger, Avery flung a water bottle and ended up splashing several fans seated nearby while he was in the penalty box. He was fined $2,500 and the Rangers were hit with a $25,000 fine.

Last year, the NHL created a new rule for unsportsmanlike conduct, naming it after Avery. During a playoff game, he face-guarded New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur and waved his stick in front of him, prompting the league to outlaw such actions under the Sean Avery Rule.

Last season, Avery was fined $2,500 for pre-game skirmishes against Toronto and New Jersey.

This season, he was fined a couple of times for breaking the Dallas Stars' dress code.
The league cited his “pattern of unacceptable and anti-social behavior” when announcing the punishment.

Avery, who has twice led the NHL in penalty minutes and is among the leaders this season, also agreed to be evaluated for anger management.

Bettman deemed Avery’s behavior detrimental to the league and the game of hockey, and said in a statement that the 28-year-old player had expressed remorse for his recent comments. Bettman said completion of the anger management evaluation was a condition for Avery’s return.

The commissioner said Avery had been close to drawing a suspension many times. Bettman said he warned Avery during the playoffs last year, and Campbell also warned the player.

Avery rejoined the team after completing anger management therapy and is eligible to resume his NHL career.

Note: Sean Avery, the hockey player with the Detroit Red Wings, L.A. Kings, New York Rangers, and Dallas Stars, should not be confused with Dallas Mavericks head coach Avery Johnson, who was fined $25,000 for his actions during a loss to the Indiana Pacers. That Avery was fined for failing to leave the court in a timely fashion and verbal abuse of a game official.


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