Insults mark prelude to Tuesday's Flames game

Eric Francis, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 6:51 PM ET

No sooner had Dallas Stars coach Dave Tippett finished chastising the media for blowing Sean Avery's antics out of proportion did the controversial Stars forward make a mockery of his coach and himself this morning.

Arriving in town to see he's already front-page news for calling Jarome Iginla boring, the controversial Stars winger ensured he'll stay in the spotlight with one of the most off-side comments the league has ever heard.

And, to maximize exposure, he waited until every camera and tape recorder in the Stars dressing room was rolling following today's pre-game skate before delivering a bomb that should make for an interesting evening at the 'Dome tonight.

"I'm really happy to be back in Calgary, I love Canada," started Avery before smirking.

"I just wanted to comment on how it's become like a common thing in the NHL for guys to fall in love with my sloppy seconds. I don't know what that's about. But, enjoy the game tonight."

It was an obvious salvo fired at Flames defenceman Dion Phaneuf, who is dating Avery's ex-girlfriend and former 24 star Elisha Cuthbert.

The Calgary-born Cuthbert has also reportedly dated Montreal Canadiens' defenceman Mike Komisarek.

The premeditated shot drew gasps from Stars teammates, many of whom were shocked even a man of Avery's questionable morals would stoop that low.

The NHL has handed down an indefinite suspension following his remarks.

While the younger players seemed to think it was funny, veterans like Mike Modano and Marty Turco failed to find humour in it.

"Hopefully those words are echoed from his focus and he just wants to get out of here, get on the ice and be competitive. But it all remains to be seen," said Turco, pressed further on whether barbs like that were an unnecessary distraction for a struggling team like his.

"You like to think not, that we all are competitive enough and focused enough to do our job. When it continues over time, things certainly can be. I don't think, overall, he's been the one and only disappointment for our team."

Former captain Mike Modano, who recently suggested he might be better suited for a front office job if Avery's on-ice antics continued, was also visibly disgusted by the completely uncalled for shot at both Phaneuf and his girlfriend.

"I don't know. I don't get surprised too often any more," said Modano, one of the game's classiest players.

"I think there are tons of love quarrels in this world. I'm sure at one point or another they'll work out their differences tonight. Dion's a top-level player, he's more valuable when he's involved in the game, on the ice. How Sean deals with that, I guess we'll see."

He'll likely turtle, as he always has.

Of course, it all made Tippett look the fool for defending his player's relative innocence minutes earlier.

"You guys make that out to be way more of an issue than it is in our room," said Tippett.

"I think he's been quiet around us. There's been a couple instances where the media blows things way out of proportion and our players recognize that. The distraction has been much overblown."

When asked if he'd prefer comments like the one he made about Iginla weren't made, Tippett shrugged.

"The thing is Aves doesn’t talk much to anybody and you guys are still going on about a piece from this summer

"The only people talking about that is you guys."

A relatively talented player when he's not doing whatever he can to get under the opposition's skin, Avery has made a lucrative career out of dropping bombs on the ice and in the media. However, this one tops them all, especially in a year in which he's chosen to avoid media scrutiny almost everywhere he's gone including New York where the former Ranger recently turned down all interviews.

When asked if he thought Avery would talk yesterday, Tippett laughed.

"I doubt it," he said.

"Why would he? I don't know. That's totally up to him."


Videos

Photos