Stars get a little more testy with Avery

Say this much for the Dallas Stars, they're going to be one of the most, annoying, agitating, in-your-face teams in the NHL next season.

On Wednesday during the second day of free-agency, Dallas signed noted pest Sean Avery to a four-year contract worth $15.5 million. The 5-foot-9 Avery had 15 goals, 33 points and was second on the New York Rangers with 154 penalty minutes last season.

"We are excited about the opportunity to add a player like Sean Avery to our group," said Stars co-general manager Brett Hull, a former teammate of Avery's with the Detroit Red Wings. "His ability to play the game with skill and tenacity makes us a better team and is a great complement to the players we have here."

No doubt Hull - a bit of an agitator in his playing days - was likening Avery to Steve Ott, an undersized center who led the Stars with 147 PIM in 2007-08.

One player who will not be sorry to see Avery head back to the Western Conference is New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur. Though Avery spent just 14 months with the Rangers after coming over in a trade from the Los Angeles Kings, he still managed to forge a special relationship with the future Hall of Famer.

Check out the footage:

After this display in Game 3 of their playoff series, NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell instituted what will always be known as the Avery Rule: "An unsportsmanlike conduct minor penalty will be interpreted and applied, effective immediately, to a situation when an offensive player positions himself facing the opposition goaltender and engages in actions such as waving his arms or stick in front of the goaltender’s face, for the purpose of improperly interfering with and/or distracting the goaltender as opposed to positioning himself to try to make a play."

A critic of Avery's antics was Marty Turco, now a teammate with Dallas.

"Hopefully, guys understand the integrity of the sport. That's just something you don't do. It's kind of bush league. Hopefully it's the last we see of it."

I will say this about Avery - he's a latter-day Esa Tikkanen or Ulf Samuelsson. Avery is a pain in the ass, someone who knows just the right buttons to push (Georges Laraque, line one please).

You hate him when he's playing elsewhere, but love him when he's skating for your team.

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