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features hitherto-unthinkable passages in which he discusses his love of Shakespeare, the value of mindfulness, and the fact that he cried during his NHL hearing for making his most infamous comment, about how Dion Phaneuf was dating his “sloppy seconds” (i.e., actress Elisha Cuthbert).He doesn’t claim to be an entirely reformed character—“I’m not even going to claim to be a good guy,” he writes—and there’s more than a hint of score-settling throughout the book.As long as I had it in my head that I was a hockey player, I was going to do everything to make sure that I was there, even though staying there, I put my own nail in my own coffin. Q: During your time with the Rangers, your friend Derek Boogaard died of an overdose.
It’s whether you retire a rich man or a poor man, in some cases.
I’ve always had this chip on my shoulder because of my size, and I was always having to defend myself when I even walked into a room.
When I was playing, it was still a big man’s league.
A: I’m playing a CIA agent, and I have a big scene at the start where I go into a house and kill a bunch of people… I’ve never fought for pretend, which is kind of interesting. Q: The entertainment aspect of fighting should be familiar to you … I used to spin my helmet; it started to become a signature for me—it was the only time that you could have the entire arena stop and just look at you.
I always thought guys who’d go toe-to-toe with each other was the stupidest thing in the world, because all you need to do is make sure you land on top of that guy, and then the fans cheer. Q: You write, “The NHL discourages individuality because they like to control things.” Was that a governing aspect of your career—trying to wrest control back from the league?
Over an iced tea at a well-heeled Toronto pub, the soft-spoken Avery discusses fighting (both real and pretend), managing anger and pain, and how to thrive when everyone’s out to get you.