Ken Sims led off his feature story at the Dallas Stars official web site with the perfect theme. He said that the team already had two players who bring a mix of toughness, agitation and even scoring ability with Brenden Morrow and Steve Ott. Now with Sean Avery in the fold, can this trio of forwards not only get along, but make an impact on the Stars for the upcoming 2008-2009 season?
The Stars introduced Avery to the media at a press conference yesterday (see below). Avery didn't waste any time trying to make an immediate fashion statement by showing up in a light plaid jacket and long shorts along with salmon-colored dress shoes and not wearing socks. Remember this is a guy that had just interned at Vogue magazine.
video courtesy: Dallas Stars
"We're excited about the opportunity to add a player like Sean Avery to our group," Stars co-general manager Brett Hull said. "His ability to play the game with skill, toughness and tenacity makes us a better team."
That is kind of the point behind the Stars signing Avery on July 2nd. However, some question the move considering they already have Morrow and Ott to adequately fill the shoes of what Avery could do had they not been on the team. But since Hull and Avery were once teammates and lived to together for a time when Avery broke into the National Hockey League with the Detroit Red Wings in 2002, it isn't surprising that Hull made the move to bring Avery aboard.
The team's other co-manager Les Jackson also supported Hull's idea to bring Avery to Dallas and commented on what the 28-year-old can do for the Stars during his four-year commitment.
"The way he plays and the way he represents himself on the ice and the way our team plays, he's a great fit," Jackson said. "We did some real good things the last half of last season and Sean can complement what we have."
It did not take long at all for Avery to take a parting shot at his most recent former team in the New York Rangers. The first question asked by the reporters gathered inside the American Airlines Center was what attracted him to sign in Dallas.
Tracey Myers of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram quoted Avery in her Five For Fighting blog in which he answered:
"It's certainly a better team than the one I formerly played on. That's really the most important thing it comes down to is being able to come in and win. This is a better opportunity."
Uh huh. Okay. Very interesting choice of words for Avery to say how much better the Stars were last season. Would you have said that had you remained in New York?
Let's see, the Rangers and Stars each finished the 2007-2008 regular season with 97 points. Both teams ended up losing to a Stanley Cup finalist this spring, but I guess a 10-8 playoff record is so much better than 5-5. Better postseason run for the Stars? Absolutely. But winning a few extra playoff games doesn't really make you a much better team. However, the truth can be said that it drew them closer to the ultimate goal than what the Rangers accomplished. That is about it.
Yesterday became a public relations blitz for a guy that isn't considered a star player in the NHL. But given his personality and sideshow antics, it was perfect opportunity for hockey fans in Texas to get acquainted with Avery. We are not talking about just booing him as an opponent when he played for Detroit and the Los Angeles Kings earlier in his career.
First, according to Dallas Morning News hockey writer Mike Heika, Avery appeared on KDFW-TV's Good Day show where he talked about his passion for fashion. Interestingly, he said that Morrow and Marty Turco took him out for a night on the town. Avery then appeared on the Dunham & Miller Show on KTCK-AM (Sportsradio 1310 The Ticket) and The Jagger Show on KLLI-FM (Live 105.3)... hmmm, so Jasmine is the "sexually repressed aspect" of their show? She's too hot not to have sex! And lastly, Avery threw out the ceremonial first pitch at last night's Texas Rangers home game against the New York Yankees (in which they LOST!).
The Dallas Stars official web site has hooked up fans with a video clip of Avery's appearance on The Ticket (see below) while Andrew's Dallas Stars and NHL Blog has his second radio interview from Live 105.3 so they are available for your listening pleasure.
video courtesy: Dallas Stars and KTCK-AM
Myers followed up with a nice article in today's edition of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in which she asked the all-important question. She said:
Is Avery the missing piece of the Stars' puzzle? They'll find out soon enough. He's one more player who keeps the Stars' median age in the late 20s, something they honed by re-signing players such as Morrow (29) and Mike Ribeiro (28), and picking up Brad Richards (28) at the trade deadline. And they'll all could be here for a while.
If it works as planned, Avery and the Stars will get attention for the right reasons.
You better hope if you're a Dallas Stars fan that ends up true. Otherwise, you'll be in for a long season with this guy on your team. A friend of mine from Lewisville, Texas (a northern suburb of Dallas) expressed some serious disgust and anger over Avery's decision to play for the Stars because of who he is and how he plays. While that initial reaction may have cooled, will he win over that devoted fan as well as many others in Texas? Time will tell, but at least for a day or two this week during this hot summer in Dallas, the Stars wrestled the media attention away from Tony Romo, Terrell Owens and the Dallas Cowboys.