UNIONDALE, N.Y. – New York Islanders defenceman James Wisniewski could be in trouble with the NHL for making an obscene gesture at New York Rangers forward Sean Avery that was caught on tape during Monday’s game.
During a stoppage of play in the first period, Wisniewski and Avery chirped at each other. Wisniewski then made a gesture with his hand, directed at Avery. Wisniewski said he didn’t remember making a gesture, but video of the incident was on the YouTube website before the game was over.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman was in attendance to see the Islanders’ 6-4 victory on Monday. He said he heard about what happened but hadn’t seen it. Bettman declined to comment and said any potential disciplinary action would be handled by the league’s hockey operations department.
“My guess is hockey operations will do what needs to be done,” Bettman said. “I don’t react to things that are described to me.”
Avery was only 23 games into a US$15.5-million, four-year deal with the Dallas Stars in December 2008 when Bettman suspended him for six games for a crude remark Avery made about ex-girlfriends dating other hockey players. That incident ended Avery’s time with the Stars and led to his return to the Rangers that season after a stint in the minor leagues.
Avery also underwent counselling for anger management.
“It’s pretty obvious what the guy was doing,” Avery said of Wisniewski, “but I’m sure nothing will happen to him because nothing ever happens. It’s interesting, he’d get a warning for something like that.
“Can you imagine if I did that? They sent me to rehab the last time I did something. It’s crazy.”