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KINGS UPDATE: STORM BREWS OVER AVERY COMMENTS.

Byline: Rich Hammond Staff Writer

Kings forward Sean Avery's comment Tuesday that the hit on Jeremy Roenick by Phoenix's Denis Gauthier was ``typical of most French guys in our league with a visor on'' predictably didn't go over well.

Avery apologized for his comments, in which he said some visor-wearing French-Canadians ``don't back anything up'' and don't ``like to get scratched at all,'' but the matter hasn't been easily forgotten.

On Thursday, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly released a statement calling Avery's comments ``insensitive and inappropriate'' and threatening discipline for ``similar misconduct.''

Hours after Avery spoke, Kings general manager Dave Taylor said he would have a ``discussion'' with Avery but that the player would not be disciplined. Not surprisingly, some French-Canadian players reacted angrily.

``It's racism,'' Edmonton's Marc-Andre Bergeron told the Edmonton Sun. ``It doesn't matter if it's about French or black or Chinese, you have to respect everyone.

``I wonder if he'll say that to (Edmonton enforcer) Georges Laraque next time he sees him.''

Colorado forward Ian Laperriere, a former King, told the Rocky Mountain News that he approached Avery for a fight during a preseason game last week and that Avery ``just skated away.''

``If he's looking for a French guy who will back it up, I'm his guy,'' Laperriere told the paper. ``Print it. I'll be more than happy to back it up.

``What really makes me mad is he is taking away too much attention right now. ... He should talk about us being back on the ice instead of saying stupid racial things. It's a racial thing. If he said anything about any other ethnic (group), you'd get fined, suspended. You can't say that.''

Rich Hammond, (818) 713-3611

rich.hammond(at)dailynews.com
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Sep 30, 2005
Words:287
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