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Avery begins road back in Hartford

avery_200.jpg(AP) — Forward Sean Avery appeared in his first competitive hockey game in two months with the American Hockey League’s Hartford Wolf Pack on Saturday night.

Avery was involved in two minor scrapes in Hartford’s 4-1 loss to the Manitoba Moose in front of 5,899 at the XL Center in Hartford.

Avery was suspended by the NHL for six games in December for making a crude remark about other hockey players dating his former girlfriends.

The 28-year-old left wing did not start, but played almost 20 minutes and took three shots on goal.

"I felt good," Avery said. "I was a little nervous. It’s been a long time since I’ve played."

Avery was in the middle of two scraps, one early in the first period, and the next with 2:26 to play in the second. He was not assessed a penalty in either of the small shoving matches.

"A couple of guys said something. Nothing I could probably repeat," Avery said. "That’s the type of things that help me play better."

Avery admitted to firing a few barbs, but claimed he held back.

"I had a few comments, but nothing that was too drastic," Avery said. "Or something the old Sean would say."

Avery was placed on waivers by Dallas on Feb. 7, and cleared to play on Feb. 9. That’s when Hartford, the AHL affiliate of the New York Rangers, agreed to take Avery because the Stars do not have an AHL team.

The Rangers have expressed interest in adding Avery, who played in New York from 2006-2008.

During the brief, but cordial postgame press conference, Avery skated by a few questions about his past comments, but did make one final quip before leaving.

When asked "what hurt the most" about his ordeal, Avery said, "When a girlfriend dumps me?"

He smiled and added: "No, I feel good."