SUN Hockey Pool

Oilers keep their distance from Stars' affair

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:26 AM ET

You got the sense that they all felt like taking a shower at the mere mention of his name, to wash away the residual stink that comes from being even loosely associated with Sean Avery.

The Edmonton Oilers set a new single-game record for eye-rolling and disinterested sighs yesterday when, with the Dallas Stars in town, the assembled media began fishing for a reaction to the whole Avery controversy.

They don't even play on his team and they're tired of him. Imagine how the Stars feel.

"It doesn't really concern us," defenceman Sheldon Souray said of Avery's comments and subsequent suspension.

"I don't think we need to comment on it. Probably the way the Dallas Stars organization commented on it speaks louder than any players could."

Stars owner Tom Hicks said that had the NHL not suspended Avery, the team would have.

There isn't much the Oilers can add to what is a pretty obvious situation: A guy with a long history of trying to get attention by making statements that cross the line, tried to get attention by making another statement that crossed the line.

No way!?

The fact Avery planned the whole scene makes it much worse than something someone lets slip in the heat of the moment.

"Every player in the league wishes they could have taken something back in their career," said Shawn Horcoff. "But the tape shows this was staged and premeditated. To me, it looks like he worked on it the whole night, figuring out what he was going to say. To me that shows a blatant disrespect for the players in the league.

"There's mistakes, and there's things you mean to say because you're trying to get attention.

"You can tell by a few of his teammates' comments that they're not surprised by it and really not happy about it."

Souray, for one, takes the responsibility of being a pro athlete seriously, and says it really isn't that hard to project a positive image.

"It's common sense," he said. "But the funny thing is that common sense sometimes isn't that common. I've played with some great leaders in some great organizations and you learn from those guys.

"You just had to look at a guy like Scott Stevens for myself as a young player. Chris Chelios was an idol of mine as a kid, I watched the way he conducted himself, too.

"At the end of the day, it's more an obligation to yourself."


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