Tag: chirping

Sean Avery

Alex Frolov tells Russian media that Sean Avery used racist remarks to agitate opponents


It’s a fact that whenever Sean Avery is made a part of a story the story takes on a life of its own. That’s part of the price when you’re a player as widely disliked as Avery is. When Alexander Frolov, a former teammate of Avery’s in Los Angeles and New York with the Rangers, had a chance to speak with Russian website sports.ru about him, one of his stories is a bit startling.

Frolov, who will be playing in the KHL next season, was asked by sports.ru about what it was like to play alongside Avery. With Avery being such a polarizing and controversial figure in the NHL, it only makes sense to ask what it’s like to play with someone like that.

Slava Malmud of sport-express.ru translates the Q&A portion of the interview with Frolov to give us his startling words.

Q: You have played with Avery for the Kings and Rangers and once called him your friend.
AF: Yes, we are friends and we still communicate. Just not as often, since we live on different continents now.

Q: Why does everyone hate him?
AF: It’s not hate, it’s… He has a specific role, he is a pretty unique man and he likes to do, let’s say, extravagant things. Sometimes they’d be bordering on the forbidden. He isn’t a fool. Lately he has become calmer, smarter. Before he’d get swept away with emotions and do something stupid. To mention each and every one of his stunts… Something always happens around him, it’s a part of his job. He needs to be talked about. He loves it, he feels at home in the spotlight. Sometimes he called opponents “black monkeys.” He did a lot of things, I can’t remember all of them.

All right, that’s a huge bomb to drop after you’ve left town, but Frolov is speaking frankly about a guy who is his friend and a guy who he’s seen go from being a wild hellion on the ice in Los Angeles to a (slightly) more reserved and peaceable activist and fashion conscious guy in New York. We’re almost positive that everyone will blow these quotes out of proportion, but there is a point in history where an allegation was made against Avery for saying as much to a player.

Back in 2005 when Avery was with the Kings, then Edmonton Oilers enforcer Georges Laraque accused Avery of calling him a “monkey” to incite him into action. Avery, in true style for how he was in his more out of control days, said that Laraque made the whole thing up.

“(He) fabricated the whole thing,” Avery said in Friday’s edition of the Los Angeles Times.

“I have no idea why he would do that,” he added. “I heard about it after the game and was surprised.”

Laraque, who is black, alleged Avery made a racial remark during Edmonton’s 3-1 loss. Laraque said that when he went to challenge Avery to a fight after the Kings agitator got tangled up with Oilers finesse player Ales Hemsky, Avery declined to fight and called Laraque “a monkey.”

Since Avery’s days in Los Angeles that saw him get so out of control he racked up north of 250 penalty minutes in back-to-back seasons, he’s gotten counseling for his temper and his attitude to make him be a better person both on and off the ice. Avery’s work in New York State to help get marriage equality passed has earned him kudos from a wide range of fans both hockey and in life. This story and these quotes from Frolov won’t do him any favors, but we’d have to hope that this sort of hateful nonsense is all in his past.

The role of a pest on the ice is always to push the boundaries of good taste and even ethics in order to goad your opponents into taking a bad penalty that could hurt their team. In Avery’s past, he may or may not have done things that would make anyone in their right mind think poorly of him. He may still do it now. Who knows?

The fact is, we haven’t heard of anything from Avery relating to such hateful things in years and Frolov sharing his story so flippantly means that it’s all in the past. That’s not to excuse him for doing these things back then, but before you form the line to protest the man, just know that everyone changes and sometimes it’s for the better.

Avery is a different guy now. He’s just as good at getting under an opponent’s skin as he ever has been, but there’s a difference in how he goes about it now as opposed to six or seven years ago when there was more malice to his work. It’s not to say that he’s a Zen master now, but his speckled past coming back to bite him now seems a bit much.

Chirp/Counter-chirp: John Scott, Shawn Thornton exchange barbs

Shawn Thornton, Fernando Pisani
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It’s either a big shame or a great relief that the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks likely will only see each other once or twice a year, unless they meet in the Stanley Cup finals. If you’re a fan of fights and bad blood, it’s a disappointment; if you think that fisticuffs do little but detract from the high-level skill of hockey players, you might be glad they only meet on seldom occasions.

Despite the fact that the Bruins handed the ‘Hawks a tough (but probably not paralyzing) loss, it seems like the “chirping” between Shawn Thornton and the Blackhawks bench stole the show. This post has a good rundown of the events, but the basic gist is that the Chicago bench heckled Thornton as he left the ice after enduring a gash that forced him to get 40 stitches. Before you consider the Blackhawks bench totally indefensible, their vitriolic response stemmed from frustrations related to Thornton reportedly picking on far-from-gritty forward Fernando Pisani.

(It still seems silly of Chicago players to do so, especially with Thornton being a bloody mess.)

CSN Boston’s Joe Haggerty provides the latest of the chirp-fest, as he caught up with towering Blackhawks defenseman/enforcer John Scott. Despite being a healthy scratch during the game, the 6-foot-8 blueline bruiser had some choice – if periodically perplexing – words for Thornton.

“He said that? That’s fine. He can say what he wants,” said Hawks enforcer Scott to the Chicago Tribune. “He’s going after some of our littlest guys on our team to start a fight. He’s trying to challenge [Fernando] Pisani to a fight. What’s that say about him?

“He’s Mr. Tough Guy and he’s trying to challenge Pisani. If I’m in the lineup, he’s more than welcome to come chirp at me. I’ll kick the [bleep] out of him.”


The smack-talking defenseman said somewhat confusedly that Thornton was a “stand up guy”, but also got what was coming to him when he suffered an injury that could have given him permanent sight damage had it been a few inches south of his forehead.

“I don’t know if [I would chirp at an injured player], Thornton is a stand-up guy,” said Scott. “I don’t know who said anything, but he was kind of being cheap that game. So whatever. He gets what comes to him.”

Thornton’s response to all this: “No comment.”

Wait, Scott thinks is a stand-up guy but still thinks that Thornton was being cheap and that he deserves of a bleep-worthy beating? OK, then. Actually, Thornton did have something of a comment later on, as Haggerty shared on Twitter.

Texted Shawn Thornton for response to Jon Scott’s “kick the (bleep) out of him” comments, and B’s enforcer 1st text back said it all: “Who?”

That’s a good one-liner, but considering the fact that Scott is listed at a height just short of Zdeno Chara, something tells me Thornton would be one of the people who would take notice of him if he did play. Scott isn’t making a name for himself in the league by playing shut-down defense, but rather for using his enormous size to beat other players to a bloody pulp.

In other words, if the two face each other, it’s quite possible one of the teams’ benches would have another chance to chirp away at a bloodied player. Whenever they actually meet again, that is.

Bruins Shawn Thornton receives 40 stitches, gets chirped by Blackhawks bench

Shawn Thornton, Fernando Pisani

When a player suffers a nasty injury, generally the reaction from people is hushed silence and some “atta’ boys” from the bench to wish the guy well.

Such is not the case for Boston tough guy Shawn Thornton on Tuesday night against the Blackhawks. Early in the second period, Thornton got caught just above the eye by the skate blade of Chicago forward Fernando Pisani in what turned out to be quite the bloody accident. Thornton got up from the ice bleeding profusely and headed towards the Bruins bench where he’d eventually be given 40 stitches to close the wound. To get to the bench he had to skate past the Chicago bench and that’s when things got a bit dicey.

As Thornton headed off to be treated for the cut, someone (or many) from the Chicago bench started yapping to Thornton as he skated by. (Video) Thornton stopped dead in his tracks to shout back at the hecklers from the Blackhawks bench and, suffice to say, he wasn’t too pleased after the game when discussing it as the Chicago Sun-Times’ Adam Jahns found out.

“Yeah, something was said,” Thornton said. “Obviously, I can’t swear when I talk to you guys [in the media]. There was some stuff said that I am not happy about. I am going to find out who it was and I will deal with it in my own way.”

Joe Haggerty of CSN New England got a little bit more from Thornton who, even in his state tonight, found a way to keep it amusing as he tries to get to the bottom of the case.

“Those guys on their team chirp a lot. I don’t know if it is right when someone’s face is half across the other side of their face,” said Thornton. “But it is a tough game and people have to live with their actions. If you guys ever find out who it is don’t be afraid to send me a Christmas card.”

A short time after the incident, Zdeno Chara had some terse words on the ice for Patrick Kane. We can only imagine the diminutive Kane being a bit intimidated by the towering Chara having words with him. Whether that means it was Kane who was mouthing off from the bench, we don’t know.

Given the Blackhawks reputation for getting lippy with opponents on the ice, even without the likes of Adam Burish and Ben Eager who are playing elsewhere or Dave Bolland who’s out with a concussion , it’s not entirely shocking that they’d use the moment to say a few colorful things to a guy heading off. That said, it’s pretty easy to be tough from the bench and getting on the wrong side of Thornton isn’t something we’d like to do. Perhaps the Blackhawks are fortunate they only play Boston once or twice a year.