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Giguere Has Heated Response to Avery’s Criticism

Times Staff Writers

Mighty Duck goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere and Colorado forward Ian Laperriere made it clear the last two days that Sean Avery’s comment about French Canadian players will not be easily forgiven.

“Everybody knows Sean is a moron,” said Giguere, whose Ducks play Avery’s Kings tonight in an exhibition at the Arrowhead Pond. “He doesn’t have the capacity of thinking before he talks. He’s not the smartest guy around.”

A hit by Phoenix’s Denis Gauthier on Jeremy Roenick Sunday prompted the Kings’ Avery to say, “I think it was typical of most French guys in our league with a visor on, running around and playing tough and not back anything up.”

The Kings, after a call from the NHL, released a statement with an Avery apology Tuesday.

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Asked whether he believed Avery’s apology, Giguere said, “I know it’s not sincere. I know from playing with him for half a year” with minor league Cincinnati. “I’m disappointed the league did not impose a suspension. It’s not right. It’s a racial comment and there is no place for that in this league.”

Avery, reached in Colorado where the Kings played Avalanche on Thursday, laughed when told of Giguere’s comments, but declined to comment.

The NHL issued a statement from deputy commissioner Bill Daly on Thursday.

“Mr. Avery’s recent comments were insensitive and inappropriate,” Daly said. “The National Hockey League takes great pride in the diversity of its player base and repeatedly has made it clear to the players and member clubs that comments of this type are not acceptable.”

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Laperriere, a former King, also took issue with Avery.

“If he’s looking for a French guy to back things up, I’m the guy,” Laperriere said in the Denver Post on Wednesday.

The Kings were prepared for the worst Thursday against the Avalanche. Their lineup looked more like an undercard at Gold’s Gym, with large bodies Ken Belanger, George Parros, Ryan Flinn and Brad Norton, all vying for the team’s enforcer role, as well as Avery and Jeff Cowan, who are accustomed to on-ice scraps.

Laperriere did little more than jaw at Avery on Thursday, but Colorado’s Alex Tanguay, who is from Quebec, hammered Avery with a check late in the third period, receiving cheers from the crowd at the Pepsi Center, and was sent off for boarding.

Laperriere and Avery received unsportsmanlike conduct penalties from a scrum that followed a Brad May collision with Avery with three minutes left in the third period.

Avery scored a goal the Kings’ 4-3 shootout victory.

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Roenick skated Thursday, four days after the incident at Staples Center.

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“I feel really good,” said Roenick, who suffered what is believed to be the 11th concussion of his career. “In fact, I feel better than that. After a couple days off, I feel refreshed.”

Center Derek Armstrong, also recovering from a concussion, skated for the second consecutive day, but was unsure whether he would play tonight.

Forward Dustin Brown, who suffered a minor back injury Tuesday, also skated with the group. Defensemen Mattias Norstrom (hamstring) and Tim Gleason (knee) received treatment for their injuries but did not practice.


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