PHILADELPHIA -- New York Rangers forward Sean Avery said Philadelphia Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds addressed him with a homophobic slur during the first period of Monday's preseason game between the teams.
"To be here now and having to answer the questions about what he did is disappointing for me," Avery said. "I'm disappointed for him."
It was a chippy game that featured 79 minutes of penalties, including a roughing minor Avery drew on Simmonds. The two battled fiercely for most of the night, and Simmonds said he was angry over what Simmonds termed a "sucker punch" during a first-period scrum.
Simmonds refused to comment on what, if anything, he said.
"We were going back and forth for a while," Simmonds said. "I don't recall every single thing I did say to him. He said some things that I didn't like and I said some things he didn't like. I can't recall every single word I said.
"We were going back and forth, battling the whole time. He definitely said some things I wasn't too happy about. That's where it is."
Simmonds refused to reveal what Avery said on the ice.
"It's in the heat of a hockey game," said Simmonds, "that's what it is."
Avery made news during the summer when he recorded a public service announcement supporting New York allowing gay marriages.
"It's an issue that people are dealing with and trying to overcome," said Avery. "I guess 10 years ago maybe it wasn't so much an issue, but it's certainly an issue politically, with people in the game, and just in life in general."
Simmonds said anything said was in the heat of the moment.
"Guys say stuff, it's the heat of the battle of the game," Simmonds said. "It's not things said to hurt people. Sometimes it just happens."
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