'It didn't matter to me': Avery of facing No. 27

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 11:46 AM ET

Georges Laraque and the Oilers said the issue was put to bed before the puck was dropped.

But seeing the Oilers enforcer inserted into the starting lineup yesterday against the Los Angeles Kings did raise eyebrows.

Laraque started the game along side Jarret Stoll and Raffi Torres against the Sean Avery's line.

Nothing came of it. Not that anyone expected Avery to tangle with Laraque.

The Oilers enforcer is six inches taller and out-weighs the Kings super-pest by 20-pounds.

But the teams did stick to hockey for the most part, with the exception of the second-period fight between Igor Ulanov and Tom Kostopoulos.

"I just wanted George to out-play the opposition," said Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish. "I wanted him to get some minutes and I thought he played very well. It was tough to play him too much in the third, because we needed a goal. But he created some good opportunities, so it was good to see him get in there and play some."

The animosity between the two stems from the teams' first meeting Oct. 11 where Laraque alleges Avery called him a "monkey" - an allegation Avery denies.

Yesterday's encounter was the team's first meeting since the alleged incident.

Laraque did not want to comment on the situation. And Avery didn't have a lot to offer on the situation either.

"I knew nothing would come out of it," said Avery. "I didn't think anything of him (Laraque) being out there. It didn't matter to me."

Seeing Laraque in the starting lineup did not make much of a difference to Kings head coach Andy Murray, who was more concerned with trying to win his fifth consecutive game.

"We started Sean Avery because he's one of our best players," said Murray. "You usually want some of your best players out on the ice at the beginning of a hockey game, it had nothing to do with Laraque.

"We knew Avery wasn't going to fight Laraque, so that's not why we would start him. We wanted him on the ice because he is one of our best players."


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