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 NEW YORK (AP) -The Rangers avoided another potentially contentious arbitration hearing by agreeing to terms Tuesday with forward Marcel Hossa on a one-year contract worth $780,000.
Hossa and the Rangers were scheduled to meet with an arbitrator this week but reached a deal ahead of time, getting the last of their restricted free agents under contract.
The only deal still unsettled is with noted agitator Sean Avery, who went to arbitration with the team Monday in what reportedly was a painful process that lasted an unusually long five hours. A decision is due by Wednesday, at which time the Rangers can either agree to the terms or walk away from the deal, making the gritty forward an unrestricted free agent.
According to the New York Post, the Rangers referred to Avery as ``a reasonably effective player as well as a detriment to team,'' in a brief given to the arbitrator. Management also said ``Avery is not a mature player. He plays, at times, like an individual rather than a member of a team,'' the newspaper reported.
Avery drew heaps of praise following his arrival from Los Angeles on Feb. 5. He injected a shot of energy and gave the Rangers a physical and emotional edge that translated into a 17-6-6 mark over the final 29 games. He also was instrumental in getting the Atlanta Thrashers off their game during a first-round playoff sweep.
But he talked about wanting to hurt Buffalo players before the second-round series and wasn't nearly as effective in the six-game loss to the Sabres. He was pointless after putting up a goal and four assists against the Thrashers.
Avery earned $1.1 million last season and was seeking $2.6 million. The Rangers countered with a proposal of $1.3 million and went to great lengths to cut down Avery's worth.
``I have no idea what to say,'' Avery told the New York Post in an e-mail. ``I don't know what this was about. I'm shocked.''
Hossa earned $600,000 last season when he had 10 goals and eight assists in 64 games and moved up to the top line alongside captain Jaromir Jagr. He was at his best during the Rangers' late-season playoff push when he had eight goals and five assists in his final 15 regular-season games.
The 25-year-old left winger had two goals and two assists in 10 postseason games. In 187 career NHL games with the Rangers and Montreal Canadiens, Hossa had 30 goals and 23 assists.
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