Hockey

Avery can't return to Stars: Cherry

Don Cherry says he doesn't see any way Sean Avery can return to the Dallas Stars once the controversial winger finishes his six-game suspension.

Winger suspended after disparaging public comments toward ex-girlfriend

Don Cherry says he doesn't see any way Sean Avery can return to the Dallas Stars once the controversial winger finishes his six-game suspension.

The Hockey Night in Canada commentator was speaking in the wake of a disturbing incident that began earlier this week when Avery made highly insulting remarks to a group of reporters about former girlfriend Elisha Cuthbert, now dating Calgary's Dion Phaneuf.

Immediately suspended from Tuesday's game with the Flames and Wednesday at Edmonton, Avery had a three-hour Thursday hearing in New York with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.

Following that he was given the half-dozen games off and told to seek an anger management evaluation and, if needed, structured counselling.

"There's no way he can go back there," Cherry told host Ron MacLean on Coach's Corner. "[Goaltender Marty] Turco and [winger Brenden] Morrow warned Brett [Hull, the general manager] before they signed him 'No, we don't want him.' "

Avery signed as a free-agent with the Stars this summer after playing out his contract with the New York Rangers, where he already had become infamous as an agitator both on and off the ice.

Hull said at the end of this week that Avery was remorseful about the incident, adding: "I hope that we can put this all behind us."

Cherry came out in support of the beleaguered GM.

"I feel so sorry for Brett. He went out on a limb for him," Cherry said, shaking his head. "[He] gave him $15-million [on a contract] and when I saw Brett Hull stickhandle around and defend him out there …"

Should Dallas owner Tom Hicks and his management team decide to discipline Avery they can place him on waivers and send the winger to the minors and possibly leave him there for the balance of the season.

That would open the possibility of a two-thirds contract buy-out on July 1.

Cherry also came out against the National Hockey League Players Association for trying to keep Avery on the ice until a hearing with the league was held.

"They were mad because [the league] pulled him out right away before a hearing," Cherry said. "Did they want him to go into the game [in Calgary] and get murdered?"