Sidney Crosby will return to the Pittsburgh Penguins lineup Thursday in New York, where the Rangers might be done with forward Sean Avery for good.
On Tuesday's online "After Show" segment of Bravo TV's show, Watch What Happens Live, Avery said he’s retiring from the National Hockey League after 10 seasons.
"I am officially retired," Avery told show host Andy Cohen, as he lounged back in his chair. "I threw my skates in the Hudson [River]."
Avery reiterated as much to the New York Post, saying he is calling it a career at the end of the season to work in advertising, adding he had zero interest in continuing his hockey career in Europe.
However, Avery’s agent Pat Morris of Newport Sports Management reportedly said no decision has been made on his client's hockey future and more will be determined by interest in the summer.
The 31-year-old Avery is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent July 1 when his four-year, $15.5 million US contract signed while he was a member of the Dallas Stars expires.
The Rangers' American Hockey League affiliate, the Connecticut Whale, left Avery off its playoff roster a week ago and instructed him to not report to the rink for practices or games. He last played for the team on Jan. 27.
New York general manager Glen Sather assigned Avery to the minors on Dec. 31 after he cleared waivers.
Earlier this season, Avery scored three goals in 15 games after the Rangers recalled him from the AHL.
Training camp cut
The veteran forward failed to make the Blueshirts out of training camp and was placed on waivers in early October.
He was battling Erik Christensen for the final forward position and was made a healthy scratch for exhibition games in Bratislava, Slovakia and Zug, Switzerland.
"I think we have better players than Sean Avery — plain and simple," Rangers head coach John Tortorella told reporters in Stockholm in early October. "I can dodge it 10 different ways without trying to run Sean over. I thought he had a good camp.
"But I think with the makeup of our team, and some of the people we've added, and some of the youth we've added as far as depth put Sean in this spot."
Avery's first tenure with the Rangers ended in 2008 when he left as a free agent to sign with Dallas. It ended up being a short stay with the Stars after Avery made his infamous "sloppy seconds" remark about an ex-girlfriend who had started dating then-Calgary Flames defenceman Dion Phaneuf, now with Toronto.
That earned the Pickering, Ont., native a six-game suspension from the NHL, a stint in anger management counselling and a banishment from the Stars. New York ended up claiming him on a re-entry waivers in March 2009.
In the past, Avery has aggressively pursued other interests, spending a summer working as an intern at "Vogue" magazine and later produced his own clothing line. He also appeared in ads last year supporting same-sex marriage legislation in New York.
New York hasn't missed Avery all season as it entered Tuesday's home matchup against Carolina in top spot in the Eastern Conference with a 43-18-7 record for 93 points, 10 more than second-place Boston.
In 580 NHL regular-season games with Detroit, Los Angeles, Dallas and New York, Avery has 90 goals and 157 assists for 247 points. Considered the league's biggest pest, he also collected 1,533 penalty minutes.
His single-season high in points came in th 2006-07 season when Avery had 18 goals and 66 points.