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Avery's agent says controversial forward was joking about retirement talk

New York Rangers hockey player Sean Avery outside the Senate chamber at the Capitol in Albany, N.Y., after asking lawmakers to pass legislation to legalize same-sex marriage in New York in this June 14, 2011, file photo. (AP Photo/Hans Pennink, File)

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New York Rangers hockey player Sean Avery outside the Senate chamber at the Capitol in Albany, N.Y., after asking lawmakers to pass legislation to legalize same-sex marriage in New York in this June 14, 2011, file photo. (AP Photo/Hans Pennink, File)

Sean Avery might need to go for a swim before resuming his hockey career.

The controversial forward caused a stir after telling Bravo TV's "Watch What Happens Live" that he had "officially" retired on Monday night, suggesting that he had thrown his skates in the Hudson River.

But Avery's agent, Pat Morris of Newport Sports, suggested Tuesday that no decision has been made on his client's future just yet.

"He has spoken in a joking manner to a question," Morris told The Canadian Press in an email. "Not his desire to retire. That will be determined by any interest in the summer or early in the season."

Avery is set to become an unrestricted free agent after his US$15.5-million, four-year contract expires on July 1.

The New York Rangers forward passed through waivers twice this season prior to being sent to the American Hockey League's Connecticut Whale. He last played for the minor-league team on Jan. 27 and was told last week he no longer needed to report to the rink for practice or games.

The 31-year-old agitator has played 580 career NHL games for Detroit, Los Angeles, Dallas and the Rangers, putting up 247 points (90-157) while being assessed 1,533 minutes in penalties.

He enjoyed his most success in New York and became a fan favourite—some protested coach John Tortorella's decision to cut him out of training camp with a large banner at Madison Square Garden—but Avery was largely ineffective in 15 NHL games this year.

He had three goals and 21 penalty minutes before a lengthy run as a healthy scratch. Eventually, he was sent to the AHL.

"I think we have better players than Sean Avery, plain and simple," Tortorella said in October. "I can dodge it 10 different ways without trying to run Sean over. ... But I think with the makeup of our team, and some of the people we've added, and some of the youth we've added as far as depth put Sean in this spot."

During his 10-year NHL career, Avery has often found himself in the spotlight with a number of high-profile incidents both on and off the ice.

He's also aggressively pursued other interests. The native of Pickering, Ont., spent a summer working as an intern at "Vogue" magazine and later produced his own clothing line. He also appeared in ads last year supporting same-sex marriage legislation in New York.

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