According to this article in the Times, Sean Avery will no longer play for the LA Kings, this season or next. This ends a tenure in which he was twice the most penalized player in the league.
Avery has always been the type of player of whom people said "I hate his guts, but I'd love to have him on my team." And frankly, that was the feeling of most Kings fans this season, as was evidenced by the quick selling "What would Avery do?" T-shirts. But as the team's fortunes went south, so did a lot of the patience with Avery, no doubt accentuated by the fact that he took a lot of penalties on a team that simply refuses to try to kill them.
Avery set career highs this season with 15 goals, 24 assists, and 39 points. He's only 26, and if he can rein in his emotions, I think he could be a hell of an NHL player. Hell, even if he can't, I think he has the skating ability and talent to be a 30 goal scorer at some point in his career, maybe better. But his act wore thin on management and apparently some of the guys in the locker room as well. He was dismissed from practice for refusing to perform a drill, then getting into an argument with Mark Hardy. Not to defend Avery, but maybe if more people stopped listening to Hardy, they'd be able to kill a power play every now and then.
One thing's for sure. This is going to look like a much different team next year. Unfortunately, they're probably not going to look much better. As for Avery, there will be takers, and I fear he'll turn into a productive offensive player as he matures. I'm right on the fence on this one, but I'm leaning more toward "sad to see him go" than "good riddance".