Wanting the NHL to do a better job of marketing by focusing on heroes and villains, Dallas Stars pest Sean Avery did a good job of making himself one of the latter by insulting Calgary Flames captain Jarome Iginla.
Telling Rachel Nichols of ESPN's E:60, "No one cares about Jarome Iginla," in an interview that aired Tuesday night, Avery ruffled a few feathers in the Flames dressing room.
Back in the Western Conference with the Stars after a stint in New York, Avery has a history of trying to rattle Iginla on the ice.
He's never taken a shot at the league's resident nice guy off it.
After reading the quote, Iginla was quiet for a few seconds. Then a huge grin crossed his face.
"He can say whatever he wants," said Iginla, obviously not surprised by anything that comes out of the controversial Avery's mouth. "I think the NHL has done a better job, especially since the lockout, working with the players and getting the players out there."
Iginla's pal Craig Conroy played with Avery in Los Angeles, and says his former Kings teammate was dead wrong in his assessment.
"I think Aves says stuff to get reactions sometimes," said Conroy. "I don't know who's more exciting. You've got a power forward, he does it all -- he'll fight, hit, score goals.
"As far as marketing the league, we should let Aves do it. Let's let him have the job. If he thinks he can do it, put your money where your mouth is," added Conroy, laughing. "The way he markets himself, he probably would do a great job."
Dion Phaneuf, one of the game's rising stars and cover boy of EA Sports' NHL 09, is a big part of this year's marketing campaign. He's featured in one of the latest commercials.
"I think they're doing a much better job. They've definitely put a big effort into it through the NHLPA and the NHL to market the game better. I think they're taking steps in the right direction," said Phaneuf.
"Everyone's got their voice to speak and that's his opinion on where marketing is in the game."
Some think Avery has no control over what he says. Conroy suggests the opposite.
"You know, everything Aves does is very strategic. Sometimes you think he's just throwing it out. He actually thinks about everything he's saying, and he does it with a purpose. He's good for the game in that aspect," said Conroy. "We don't all have to agree with him, but he makes it interesting at times.
"It'll make that first game interesting against Dallas."