DALLAS - Whenever Sean Avery is ready to return to the NHL, it won't be with the Dallas Stars.
The combative forward was eligible to return from a six-game suspension yesterday, but the Stars instead announced that Avery would not rejoin the team - ever.
"You have to do what's right for both parties, and that's what we're really trying to do," co-general manager Brett Hull said.
Avery was only 23 games into a four-year, $15.5 million deal when commissioner Gary Bettman suspended him for a crude remark about ex-girlfriends dating other hockey players. Simmering tension between Avery and his teammates and coach boiled over in the aftermath, with the dressing room united in its stance against his ever wearing a Stars sweater again.
"I thought [Sean] could bring a little bit of a change in our locker room and on the ice which I thought was missing," Hull said. "Obviously, it went overboard and didn't work out."
Details of Avery's departure still must be worked out. He could be traded, sent to the minors or bought out next summer. The club said it would work with Avery to try making this an amicable divorce. It will not try voiding his contract on grounds that he has violated the conduct clause.
Avery is at an undisclosed location seeking treatment through a program set up by the NHL players' association.
The 28-year-old Avery is on his fourth team in seven seasons. He came up with Detroit, was traded to Los Angeles, and then was dealt to the New York Rangers, who did not re-sign him when his contract expired.
Stars add center. Dallas acquired center Brian Sutherby from the Anaheim Ducks for center David McIntyre and a conditional sixth-round draft pick in 2010.