Sean Avery's days with the Dallas Stars are done.
Although the combative forward was eligible to return from a six-game league suspension yesterday, the Stars instead announced Avery will not rejoin the team - ever.
"All parties said there is a clear understanding that a return to the Stars is not in the best interest of either the hockey club or Avery," the team said in a statement.
Details of his departure still must be worked out. He could be traded, sent to the minors or bought out next summer. The club said it will work with Avery to try to make this an amicable divorce.
Avery is at an undisclosed location seeking treatment through a program set up by the NHL Players Association. When he was suspended, Avery told the Stars he needed help dealing with anger issues.
"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," Stars co-general manager Brett Hull said in the statement. "We all need to move forward."
Avery lasted only 23 games in Dallas after being signed for $15.5 million and 4 years over the summer.His suspension came after he made a crude remark on Dec. 2 about his ex-girlfriends dating other hockey players.
Avery and his agent could try finding a team interested in trading for him. If there are no takers, the Stars may not want to waive him because they would be responsible for the balance of his salary, which is $4 million each of the next three seasons. They could hold his rights the rest of this season, then buy him out for two-thirds of the balance ($8 million, instead of $12 million) on or after July 1.
In yesterday's games:
* At Chicago, Cristobal Huet made 31 saves, and Martin Havlat scored the go-ahead goal midway through the third period to lead the Blackhawks to their fourth straight victory, 3-1 over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Chicago is 5-0-1 in its last six games and 10-1-4 at home.
* At Anaheim, Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Brendan Morrison and Bobby Ryan scored in the Ducks' 4-2 victory over the Minnesota Wild. Chris Pronger and Chris Kunitz each had two assists.
* At Vancouver, Pavol Demitra scored two of the Canucks' four second-period goals as Vancouver defeated the Florida Panthers, 5-3. *