By Mark Spector
EDMONTON — Dallas Stars coach Dave Tippett, embarrassed by Sean Avery Tuesday night in Calgary, said Wednesday that his image of a Dallas Stars dressing room no longer includes a stall with Avery’s name on it.
“I’m trying to build a team where the players care about each other, that has continuity,” Tippett said outside the Dallas dressing room prior to Wednesday night’s game at Rexall Place against the Edmonton Oilers. “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,” he continued. “I don’t know if we can build the best team possible with Sean in the room.”
Avery’s comments in Calgary — he referred to former girlfriend Elisha Cuthbert, who is currently dating Flames defenceman Dion Phaneuf, as “sloppy seconds” — have cast a pall on the Stars organization.
“He’s painted our organization with a brush that no one wants to be painted with,” said Tippett, who admitted to “a great deal of frustration,” with Avery.
“My own frustration and embarrassment,” he said. “Ten minutes before Sean came out with those comments, I had defended him (to the media). It’s very disappointing to me.”
After issuing disparaging comments about Flames captain Jarome Iginla earlier in the year, as well as his former relationship with Phaneuf’s current flame, Avery was being monitored closely by the Stars coaching and public relations staffs upon the team’s first visit to the Saddledome this season.
“I approached Sean, asked him if he was going to talk to the media, and he said no. And he told the (PR staff) that,” Tippett said. “Then to have a calculated response like that … it was classless. It was a calculated statement.”
Avery was suspended indefinitely and summoned to New York by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman for a 10:30 a.m. hearing Thursday morning. He was expected to be joined by Stars co-general manager Brett Hull.
If he is suspended, as expected, Tippett would not commit to allowing Avery to stay in shape by practising with the Stars.
“We’ll have to see what management wants to do,” he said. “I think they know my opinion on that, and I’m not going to share it. But that’s management’s call, not mine.”