Sam sounds off on Avery-Tucker debate

STEVE BUFFERY and MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:45 AM ET

The Sean Avery-Darcy Tucker trash talk debate has not escaped the attention of Sam Mitchell, who believes the story would have received more ink had it involved NBA personalities.

"You know what's crazy about it? If a basketball player said it or I said it, it would be front page, I would be called upstairs, I would be in trouble, I'd get fined. If a hockey player says it, it's nothing," Mitchell, the head coach of the Raptors, said yesterday.

"If a basketball player goes in the stands, the sport is out of control. How long have hockey players been going into the stands?

"I have my theories why, but I'm not going to comment, because I'm going to get into trouble."

Mitchell said he did not talk smack a la Avery during his 13-year NBA career.

"I didn't play that way because once I got mad, I couldn't play," Mitchell said.

"To me the only guys who can run their mouth are the guys who can actually play. I never felt I was that good enough as a player (to trash talk) ... but if you talk trash to me on the court, it became, 'I'm going to get you.'

"I didn't say anything, I just played."

Asked about the allegations that Avery may have chided Jason Blake about having cancer -- accusations that Avery completely denies -- Mitchell replied: "If he said that, it's low. Come on? Who would do that?"

HALL OF A GUY?

When pressed about the possibility of Leafs front office adviser Doug Gilmour making the Hall of Fame one day, coach Paul Maurice came up with an amusing story.

"He took a swipe at me on the bench once," Maurice said with a chuckle. "He was with New Jersey and there was a scrum in front of the bench. Out of the pile came this fist at me. Thankfully his arm was not long enough.

"Finally I saw him, hiding behind the scrum, laughing."


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