- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 27, 2011

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - The rivalry between the Flyers and Rangers turned ugly in a penalty-filled preseason game that also appeared to include a homophobic slur from Philadelphia’s Wayne Simmonds to noted New York agitator Sean Avery.

The Atlantic Division rivals combined for 77 penalty minutes in Philadelphia’s 5-3 victory on Monday night, and more discipline could by coming from the NHL when the league sorts everything out.

Avery and Simmonds were at odds in the first period, and television cameras caught Simmonds jawing at Avery, appearing to utter the slur.

When Avery was asked by reporters after the game if Simmonds called him “what we think he called you,” he answered: “Yeah, yeah.”

Avery said he had “no idea” why Simmonds would make such a remark.

This marked the second controversy in two weeks for Simmonds, who is black. Last week, a banana was thrown at him from the stands during a preseason game in London, Ontario.

Simmonds didn’t deny using the slur toward Avery.

“Honestly, we were going back and forth for a while there,” he said, without providing details. “I don’t recall everything that I did say to him, but he said to me some things I didn’t like. And maybe I said some things that he didn’t like.

“I can’t recall every single word I said.”

Simmonds was asked what Avery said and if it crossed the line.

“I’m not going to rat him out,” he said

Flyers coach Peter Laviolette didn’t comment on the exchange. As for what he saw of it, Laviolette said, “It was a couple of guys battling out there.”

Rangers coach John Tortorella took the matter a step further.

“I didn’t hear it. I don’t think Sean Avery is lying,” he said. “I’ll let the league handle it. I did not hear it, but I’m sure Sean Avery isn’t going to lie about it.”

Just before that incident, Philadelphia’s Tom Sestito racked up 20 minutes in penalties after boarding New York’s Andre Deveaux behind the net in a move that will likely draw another suspension for the Flyers.

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