For years, New York Rangers forward Sean Avery has made as much a living with his mouth as he has with his body. Avery has a list of antics on his resume, which is enough to make any head coach’s blood boil. He has had nearly as many fights as goals in his career, he was suspended for a “sloppy seconds” comment about an opposing player dating an ex-girlfriend and he even has a rule in his honor thanks to Marty Brodeur. But Avery, for the most part, has been out of the disciplinary spotlight ever since a quick stint with the Dallas Stars in 2008-09 and now with the preseason in full swing, he is back to his usual antics – getting under players’ skin.
On Monday night, after the formal announcement of the Winter Classic in Philadelphia at Citizens Bank Park between the Flyers and the Rangers, the two rivals squared off across the street as each team prepares for the start of the regular season next month. While Jaromir Jagr impressed in his first game at his new home, Avery began to do what he does best.
Quickly Avery was in the middle of several scraps and at one point could be heard on the television broadcast shouting, “I really don’t want to [bleeping] kill Giroux tonight,” to Flyers forward Tommy Sestito. This came just moments after Sestito’s teammate, Claude Giroux attempted to throw down with Avery, who didn’t seem too interested.
This upset one of the newest members of the orange and black, Wayne Simmons who decided to take what Avery said to heart.
“I don’t know if it was ‘kill’ or ‘attack,’ but he said something along the lines of Giroux and as soon as he said that, all the boys on the bench perked up a little bit more,” Simmonds told CSN Philly. “We were definitely aware of that.”
Avery earned an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty early in the third period, after a small get together with Simmonds but managed to get him to play right into his hands. After the Rangers’ 5-3 loss, Avery accused the Flyers forward of calling him a homophobic slur. The matter has since been given to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, at which point he will review it and possibly issue as much as a $2,500 fine to Simmonds.
“It’s Sean Avery. He gets under everyone’s skin. He’s probably had encounters with everyone in this league. I guess you can add my name to the list of ‘more to come,’” Simmonds added.
So for those keeping score at home, it is only September 27 and already Avery has made the national spotlight and sparked yet another controversy thanks to his mouth. Well, the season doesn’t start for another week, which is plenty of time for him to agitate more opponents. Our guess is that we will hear plenty more from Avery before the end of the season, Simmonds will make sure of it.
If the Rangers can get as much out of Avery’s as the team does his mouth, it could be a successful season!
Photo courtesy of The Associated Press.