'Sorry' would be a start for Avery

ERIC FRANCIS, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:59 AM ET

Only one thing needs to be said later this week when Sean Avery returns to Calgary for the first time since his sloppy seconds salvo:

"I'm sorry."

If the classless New York Rangers mouthpiece has a shred of decency in him, he'll publicly apologize to Dion Phaneuf and girlfriend Elisha Cuthbert for his stunningly offside comments of a year ago.

Phaneuf, who handled the cheap shot well publicly, will no doubt decline comment this morning or suggest Avery's infamous taunt is old news.

However, while Avery tries repairing his career and reputation by telling Sun Media last week he's undergone therapy to become a better person, the obvious first step should clearly come in the form of a public apology to those he offended most.

While awaiting word on his NHL future from the league last December, Avery made a lame effort to control the damage he'd done by issuing an apology through his agent.

"It was a bad attempt to build excitement for the game, but I am now acutely aware of how hurtful my actions were," said Avery in his hollow statement dated Dec. 3, 2008.

"I caused unnecessary embarrassment to my peers as well as people I have been close with in the past. I apologize for offending the great fans of the NHL, the commissioner, my teammates, my coaching staff and the Dallas Stars management and ownership."

Noticeably absent from his carefully written statement were apologies to Phaneuf or Cuthbert -- the two prime targets in his pre-game diatribe.

It's time he did the right thing.

Not that it's going to save him from the type of beating several Flames players have dreamed of administering to the league's biggest weasel for a full year.

Thing is, he's long shied away from backing up his words with his fists, which is why it's all the more important he does the honourable thing before Saturday's game, if Rangers coach John Tortorella allows him to talk at all.

Once the game starts, we know he'll simply return to showing no honour at all.

Now more notes, quotes and anecdotes from a sports world wondering why anyone would read or publish a book on Bruce Boudreau.

AROUND THE HORN

Best costumes of the year go to Dustin Penner and Andrew Cogliano, who decided to have a little fun with their off-season issues at the Oilers' Halloween party. Both were part of a trade package that was supposed to fetch the Oilers Dany Heatley. Cogliano went as Heatley, complete with the jersey and the identical visor. Penner showed up as Santa Claus, with "No-trade Clause" written on his back in Heatley's honour ... Eric Nystrom's dreams of hosting a cooking show may be on hold. Days after cooking bison for four on a Flames pay-per-view segment, half his guests were out of commission: Dustin Boyd and PPV host Tara McCool. OK, so neither illness was food related. But that won't stop the dressing room ribbing revolving around his Bison Flu ... Believe it or not, yesterday marked the first time in history the NHL, NBA, NFL, CFL and were in action on the same day.

PARTING GIFTS

Kudos to longtime Canadian Tour player Stuart Anderson for winning the first stage of PGA Tour Q-school by finishing 13-under at San Juan Oaks Club in Hollister, Calif. The 31-year-old Calgary native moves on to the second stage Nov. 18 at one of six sites with hopes of moving from there to the final stage, where the top 25 finishers gain PGA Tour status. The next 50 earn full status on the Nationwide Tour. Cottonwood pro Jamie Kureluk needed a par on the 72nd hole in Lantana, Texas, to move onto the second stage but carded a quadruple-bogey eight to miss out by four strokes.

ERIC.FRANCIS@SUNMEDIA.CA


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