I'm sure everyone wants to know what happened with Sean Avery and David Clarkson and I'll have a lot about it in my notebook in Sunday's paper, but I'll address it here too because it was an interesting sidestory to what was a pretty good game.
Avery had words with David Clarkson and Martin Brodeur during pre-game warm-ups. Clarkson and Avery both said that Clarkson did not cross the red line. Avery pretty much admitted he was just "getting into the game" by talking. He also pointed his stick in Clarkson's face.
It might have started because Avery was yapping at Brodeur while he was stretching during warm-ups. Brodeur pretty much laughed him off. Eventually, Clarkson came over and interceded.
Avery called Clarkson "a bonehead minor leaguer" after the game and called Brodeur, "Marty the diver", a reference to the goaltender's first period diving penalty. "I don't even know who this guy is, why am I talking to him," Avery said of Clarkson. "We're not friends. It's not an (expletive) secret. We're getting ready for a game and we go to war."
When asked if Brodeur said anything back to him, Avery said, "I can't understand a word he says with his accent."
Clarkson played it diplomatic. "We both kind of play the same way, hit hard and get in other guy's face," he said. "That's how he is. He's going to try to get under my skin before the game and other guys, just like I do."
Before one first period faceoff, Avery lined up across from Zach Parise and yapped in his ear for what seemed like an eternity. "I asked him to fight a couple of times," Avery admitted. When an incredulous reporter questioned that he would challenge Parise, who has never had an NHL fight, Avery replied, "Is that his name?"
Avery admitted that "a lot of guys asked me (to fight)." Clarkson was probably the first, when they met up in front of the Rangers' bench on their first shifts of the game. "I said if he ever wants to (fight), but I tried to just ignore him."
Parise also said he ignored Avery. "He wanted to fight me," he said. "He told me to, 'make a statement.' I just ignored him. It's all about him. It's too bad because he can be a pretty good player."