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Dallas Stars owner Hicks to meet with Hull over Avery situation

PALM BEACH, Fla. - Sean Avery's fate with the Dallas Stars could be decided as soon as Wednesday. And it doesn't sound too good for the NHL's super pest.

The team's brass will meet on Wednesday afternoon and discuss the Avery situation in depth.

"We're going to look at all the alternatives," owner Tom Hicks said Monday. "We're going to have some recommendations from (GMs) Brett (Hull), Les (Jackson) and (president) Jeff Cogen will participate as well."

Avery is currently serving a six-game suspension for saying that other NHL players are after his "sloppy seconds." Calgary Flames defenceman Dion Phaneuf is dating Avery's ex-girlfriend Elisha Cuthbert while Los Angeles Kings forward Jarett Stoll has been linked to Rachel Hunter - another of Avery's former love interests.

Hicks fully supported the league's decision to suspend the player and sent out a press release within a couple hours of Avery making the comment.

There has been plenty of speculation that the team might not welcome the winger back even after Dec. 16, when Avery is eligible to return to the lineup. Hicks didn't exactly quell the notion before heading into the NHL's board of governors meeting on Monday afternoon.

"I'm not prepared to say that (he's played his last game in Dallas) yet because I want to give our guys the respect they deserve to make the recommendations," he said. "But certainly when (coach) Dave Tippett comes out and stakes his claim, it's pretty hard to overcome that.

"So I think we'll want to look at everything from what's right for Sean - not as a hockey player. He's a troubled young man. I think that's going to be our first priority is what can we do to help him away from hockey. We've got a team of guys doing all that and I'll deal with that Wednesday, too."

As part of Avery's suspension, he's agreed to be evaluated for anger management issues.

It doesn't appear as though his teammates and coach even want him back. Tippett and several Stars players have made strong comments about the winger, who signed a US$15.5-million, four-year deal in July.

"I'm trying to build a team where the players care about each other, that has continuity," Tippett said last Wednesday in Edmonton. "I find it hard to believe that Sean could come back in the room and we would have that continuity.

"My job is to build the best team possible. I don't know if we can build the best team possible with Sean in the room."

The Stars have a couple potential options if they don't want to welcome him back. They probably wouldn't be able to trade him at this point but they could place him on waivers and try sending him to the American Hockey League.

There's also the chance that Dallas could try and void Avery's contract, although it's very likely that the NHL players' association would fight to keep that from happening.

No matter what happens, it's clear that his comments have left a lasting impression.

"He's painted our organization with a brush that no one wants to be painted with," Tippett said last week. "Ten minutes before Sean came out with those comments, I had defended him (to the media). It's very disappointing to me."


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