Did he or didn't he?
Laraque says Avery used slur
ROBIN BROWNLEE -- Edmonton Sun
|Edmonton Oilers forward George Laraque (photo) claims he was the victim of a racial slur by Los Angeles Kings forward Sean Avery. (Sun Media Photo/David Bloom)
The NHL says it has no corroborating evidence Sean Avery directed a racial slur at George Laraque in the second period of Tuesday's game between the Los Angeles Kings and Edmonton Oilers at the Staples Center.
But the Oilers tough guy knows what he heard.
Laraque, visibly upset after a 3-1 win by the Kings, said late Tuesday that when he jumped on the ice in front of the Edmonton bench 15 minutes into the second period to challenge Avery to fight after he'd jostled Ales Hemsky, Avery declined fisticuffs and called him "a monkey."
"Things were said that I'm not happy about," Laraque told reporters yesterday at the team hotel after the incident was reported to NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell. "I'm going to let the league deal with it."
Laraque yesterday declined to elaborate on the on-ice exchange with Avery or repeat the allegation he made after the game, saying he felt it best not to comment and to leave the matter with the league.
Coach Craig MacTavish, who was told about the incident by Laraque at the conclusion of the game and confronted Avery in the Staples Center parkade, also declined comment before the team jetted back to Edmonton.
"I don't want to go down that path right now," MacTavish said. "I can't really get into it right now. It's kind of a personal matter. I don't want to say anything."
Avery was admonished by the NHL last month for comments he made regarding French players who play a tough game, but wear visors, after Phoenix's Denis Gauthier levelled Los Angeles' Jeremy Roenick.
Avery said the play was "typical of most French guys in our league with a visor on, running around and playing tough but not backing anything up."
In the case of Gauthier, Avery apologized. As of yesterday, no admission of the slur Laraque said he heard had been made.
"I can't say anything," Laraque said.
"I will let the league deal with it. I can't do or say anything."
Laraque said he considered going after Avery on the ice after the alleged slur, but, in the wake of the Todd Bertuzzi situation with Steve Moore, decided to let the NHL deal with it.
"The reason I didn't react is because you have to be careful now," Laraque said.
"That's why I'll let the league deal with it. If I'm out the whole season is it worth it?"
Laraque talked to Oilers GM Kevin Lowe and Campbell about the incident.
Campbell then talked to the Oilers and Kings yesterday, but indicated he'd been unable to confirm either player's story and that no disciplinary action is planned at this time.