Earlier this month, former New York Rangers forward Sean Avery was left off the "Clear Day" roster for the AHL Connecticut Whale, rendering him ineligible for the rest of the regular season and the Calder Cup Playoffs. In fact, the Whale told Avery — a frequent healthy scratch after his demotion — he was no longer required to show up for practices or games.
Like any fashion obsessed pop culture icon, Avery sought refuge on the Bravo network, guesting on Andy Cohen's "Watch What Happens Live!" with Nicole Richie. It was on its web-only after show that Avery proclaimed he was "officially retired" from professional hockey (around the 4:30 mark):
For the video impaired:
Q. What are your plans for the future, hockey-wise?
AVERY: I am officially retired. I threw my skates in the Hudson. [To Nicole Richie] It's the river.
RICHIE: I know. I thought you meant that you threw them against Kate Hudson's face.
AVERY: No. But she, I think, has dated a few hockey players in the past.
As the video shows, Avery is his usual glib, Cheshire Cat self in discussing his future. According to his agent, he was having a laugh; Sportsnet's Mark Spector reports that Avery's agent Pat Morris said his client doesn't have plans to file retirement papers with NHLPA.
Of course, Avery being Avery, he then told Larry Brooks of the NY Post that his "post-hockey career will start when contract expires. 'No, that wasn't a joke, yes I'm retiring at end of season and its OK.'"
[Avery] did not dispute the comments but said he will wait to make an official announcement until his four-year, $15.5 million contract expires at the end of this season. Filing official retirement papers with the league beforehand would mean he'd forfeit the remaining money owed to him on the deal.
The bottom line is that the stellar contract that Brett Hull handed him with the Dallas Stars runs out this summer, when Avery will be an unrestricted free agent.
Where will he sign? Based on how good he is on "Watch What Happens" and "Project Runway All-Stars," we expect a bidding war between Lifetime and Bravo, with Bravo eventually winning after agreeing to air "Warren 77 Presents The Real Housewives of Tribeca."