Sean Avery was expecting more hate from Dallas Stars fans

As a person who occasionally enjoys needling others here and there, I can understand the fact that New York Rangers pest Sean Avery felt some disappointment (for lack of a better word) by the relatively tepid response from Dallas Stars fans during the teams’ game last night.

After all, Avery is the kind of agitator who is paid to get under people’s skin. If he isn’t getting jeered mercilessly, it almost feels like he isn’t really doing his job.

In case you aren’t well-versed in the history of hockey irritants, Avery briefly played for the Dallas Stars after then co-general manager Brett Hull campaigned for his addition. It was pretty much a full-fledged disaster, though, so the team decided to let him go on re-entry waivers and pay half of his salary for the remainder of his contract. Avery was back with the Rangers in less than a season after leaving the 2008-09 Stars in a state of disrepair.

(Of course, that Stars team had more problems than just Avery, but the convenient thing about the pest is that you can place as little or as much blame upon him as you’d like. Dallas chose to place a ton of it on his shoulders.)

Avery discussed the lukewarm disgust from Dallas fans with Larry Brooks today.

“They didn’t even a have a sign,” Avery said, shrugging, following the Rangers’ 3-2 shootout victory over the Stars last night. “The crowd was kind of boring, I’d have to say.”

Avery was booed whenever he touched the puck in his 11:15 of work, but not with the ferocity that greeted Jaromir Jagr when he returned to Washington or Pittsburgh with the Rangers and not with the ferocity that greeted Wayne Gretzky when The Great One returned to St. Louis with the Blueshirts.

The loudest noise of the night came when Avery, who played much of the game with Artem Anisimov and Marian Gaborik, was ridden hard into the boards by Stephane Robidas approximately 4:30 into the third period.

Actually, Avery’s return was trumped by the Stars’ reacquisition of 1999 Cup-winning Star and 2003 Cup-winning Devil Jamie Langenbrunner, who came back to Dallas from New Jersey after nearly nine years. The trade was announced before the morning skate.

Then again, when you consider the fact that Stars fans haven’t exactly shown up in droves for a team that leads the Pacific Division, it shouldn’t be that surprising that they failed to raise much ire for a former villain.

WATCH LIVE: Pittsburgh Penguins at Ottawa Senators – Game 6

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Last night, the Nashville Predators demoralized the Ducks and advanced to their first-ever Stanley Cup Final. Will we learn their opponent tonight or on Thursday?

That’s up to how the Pittsburgh Penguins and Ottawa Senators perform in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final.

Will Sidney Crosby and the Penguins follow that 7-0 rout with a close-out performance, or will Erik Karlsson and the Senators avenge that embarrassing loss to send this series to a decisive Game 7?

Find out on NBCSN at tonight. You can also watch the game online and via the NBC Sports App.

Here’s what you need to know:

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Ottawa Senators (Pens lead 3-2)

Time: 8:00 p.m. ET

Network: NBCSN (Stream online here)

Check out the highlights from Pittsburgh’s 7-0 win in Game 5

Related:

Pens redefining defense by committee

Four things the Pens need to do to eliminate the Sens

Swedish League champ sees another sign in NHL

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It’s an offseason of change for SHL champion HV71.

In the days following the league title, HV71 saw No. 1 goalie Linus Soderstrom sign his ELC with the Isles and d-man Andreas Borgman — the league’s rookie of the year — ink with the Leafs.

Earlier today, HV71 winger Filip Sandberg signed a two-year deal with San Jose. Shortly after that, Columbus announced it inked Sandberg’s running mate up front, Kevin Stenlund, to a three-year, entry-level deal.

Stenlund, 20, was the Blue Jackets’ second-round pick (58th overall) at the 2015 draft. He’s coming off a good year, setting career highs in goals, assists, points and games played during the regular season, then adding 10 points in 16 playoff appearances.

And he might have a chance to build on that campaign.

Per the Dispatch, the Blue Jackets expect Stenlund to play next year in Sweden, rather than try to make the move overseas. It’s possible the Isles could make the same decision with Soderstrom — meaning it’s not all bad for HV71.

 

Oilers re-sign Pakarinen for one year

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The Edmonton Oilers have given winger Iiro Pakarinen a one-year contract extension.

From the release:

Pakarinen just finished his third season with the Oilers organization, appearing in 14 regular season games in 2016-17, posting four points (2 goals, 2 assists).  The 25 year old forward missed 53 games due to an injury suffered during the pre-season. He appeared in one playoff game against the San Jose Sharks.

The Oilers brought Pakarinen over from Finland in 2014. Since then, he’s split his North American career between the AHL and NHL while drawing praise for his versatility and hard-nosed style.

Per CapFriendly, Pakarinen’s cap hit will be $750,000 in 2017-18. It’s a one-way deal.

Market heating up for prized Czech d-man Rutta

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Coming off an impressive performance for the Czech Republic at the World Hockey Championship, Jan Rutta is now being courted by a number of NHL clubs.

Per The Athletic, the Blackhawks are in contention for securing Rutta’s services. That comes on the heels of earlier reports from TSN’s Darren Dreger, who said there are “multiple” offers for the 26-year-old, including ones from Edmonton and Calgary.

“He’s a steady defenseman with size, and he had a strong finish of the season,” an NHL scout told The Athletic. “He was very good in the playoffs and played his best at the Worlds.”

Rutta, who was never drafted by an NHL club, has spent his professional career with Czech League outfit Pirati Chomutov. He’s blossomed into a talented offensive defenseman — finishing second among Czech League d-men with 32 points in 46 games this year — and, as mentioned above, has good size at 6-foot-3, 200 pounds.

Last week, Rutta’s agent — longtime Octagon Hockey representative Allan Walsh — tweeted that his client would make a decision on NHL offers soon.