Avery causes a stir

Rangers' Sean Avery will be chatting very soon with NHL senior vice-president Colin Campbell. (SUN...

Rangers' Sean Avery will be chatting very soon with NHL senior vice-president Colin Campbell. (SUN MEDIA/Alex Urosevic)

LANCE HORNBY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:10 AM ET

How low did Sean Avery go?

That's the question the National Hockey League is wrestling with after the hissing match Saturday between respective rogues Avery of the New York Rangers and Toronto's Darcy Tucker, with Jason Blake dragged into the fray yesterday.

Leafs players weren't exactly shooting down unconfirmed talk that Avery made a derogatory reference to Blake's chronic myelogenous leukemia, a rare but treatable form of cancer, during the pre-game shoving match. Tucker and Avery later fought and traded insults in the penalty box. TSN reported last night that Avery will be talking to NHL senior vice-president Colin Campbell, but the purpose of the call is unclear.

"No comment, I don't want to get into it," Blake said when asked yesterday at Lakeshore Lions Arena.

Tucker, who said between periods on Saturday that Avery had made "classless" remarks overheard by the officiating crew, was also asked about Blake's involvement.

"I'm not going to get into what was said or not said," he replied. "Even if you play on the edge, there is a line that can't be crossed. It's out of our hands."

Tucker was referring to the NHL investigating the incident, but its extent beyond the referees filing their usual post-game report could not be verified. But one eavesdropper near the penalty bench said Avery had mentioned Tucker's family in a harsh manner and that young children were in earshot of the harangue.

Avery was quiet after the game, which might have had something to do with Rangers general manager Glen Sather telling him to zip it before the media was let in.

Tucker admitted he was no angel in the trash-talking department as a younger player.

"It was not something becoming of an NHLer," he said. "Early in my career, I spoke to Colin. When you get a family, it changes your life and your attitude toward others."

Leafs enforcer Wade Belak, who was not dressed for the game, told Sun Media on the weekend that "if (Avery) keeps this up, someone is going to kill him."

Belak, whose comments probably weren't welcomed by the league either, toned it down a bit yesterday, but repeated that any bad references to family members on the ice are unacceptable.


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