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Rangers' Avery says Flyer used homophobic slur during game

PHILADELPHIA – That the Flyers’ Tom Sestito will face NHL discipline for hitting the Rangers’ Andre Deveaux from behind seems a foregone conclusion. Sean Avery won’t go so far as to say he believes the Flyers’ Wayne Simmonds’ should also be penalized for allegedly using a homophobic slur at him during the first period of the Flyers’ 5-3 preseason win Monday night at the Wells Fargo Center. But the Rangers’ agitator was clearly upset. Video captured Simmonds yelling at Avery, Avery said the word was exactly what it looked like and Simmonds did not deny it, saying only, “I don’t recall every single thing I said to him.” Rangers coach John Tortorella said he didn’t hear what Simmonds said but added, “I don’t think Sean Avery’s lying.”  “Kobe Bryant got fined 100 grand,” said Avery, citing the Lakers’ star being penalized for using the same homophobic slur at referee Bennie Adams on April 13.  “Everything’s different now. It’s an issue. It’s an issue that people are dealing with and trying to overcome and, 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 life in general.” Avery recorded a video during the offseason supporting the legalization of gay marriage in New York but said he hadn’t considered whether that was a factor Monday night. Simmonds said he was still enraged from an earlier scrum in which he said Avery “sucker-punched him” and the two were yelling at each other all game. Avery said he did not believe anything he said prompted Simmonds’ language.  “He didn’t think he said anything?” Simmonds asked incredulously. “It’s Sean Avery there. C’mon. Who knows what comes out of his mouth.” Simmonds had a banana peel thrown at him during a Flyers’ preseason game in London, Ont. on Thursday.  “First of all, who would do that and why would you do it,” Avery said. “So to be here now and having to answer the questions about what he did is disappointing for me. I’m disappointed for him.” Simmonds, while not confirming or denying he used the slur, said he did not feel he said anything during the game that went over the line.  “It’s something that happens every game,” Simmonds said. “Guys say stuff. It’s just the heat of the battle of the game. It’s not necessarily things that are said that hurt people.” Deveaux was dazed but remained in the game after Sestito was called for boarding and given a game misconduct at 7:52 of the first period for slamming him into the backboards. Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said he expects a phone call or e-mail from Brendan Shanahan, the NHL’s new senior vice president of player safety.  “I don’t consider myself a dirty player but I finish my checks,” Sestito said. “Definitely not what I wanted to do, sit and watch when I want to show [the Flyers] what I can do.” Tortorella, asked in general about the preseason’s games physical nature – the teams combined for 77 penalty minutes and Zac Rinaldo injured Rangers defenseman Mike Sauer’s right shoulder with a hard check into the boards at 3:41 of the first period – said “Shanny should have a field day.” Sauer suffered a shoulder strain and will miss a week. Tortorella said Sestito should receive a longer suspension than the 10 games teammate Jody Shelley received on Friday for driving the Maple Leafs’ Darryl Boyce face first into the boards two days earlier.  “Yeah, obviously I have a problem with it,” said Deveaux, re-assigned to Connecticut (AHL) after the game along with fellow forward Andreas Thuresson. “That’s pretty much everything that want us not to do. All I’m going to say is that was pretty dangerous. I’m in a pretty defenseless position. I’m sure they’re going to look at it.” E-mail:

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