Earlier today, a Russian-language interview with Sean Avery's former teammate Alex Frolov made the rounds. The interview (translated here on the Daily News's Rangers blog) quoted Frolov as saying that "Something always happens around him, it's a part of his job. He needs to be talked about. He loves it, he feels at home in the spotlight. Sometimes he called opponents 'black monkeys.' He did a lot of things. I can't remember all." But Jesse Spector tracked down Frolov, who is currently in Germany training, and Frolov says that he never said such a thing.
"I didn't have a chance to read the article," Frolov told the Daily News by phone. "Something in the Russian newspaper about Aves. They asked me about Aves and I said he's a friend of mine and a really nice guy. What I said was that he, in the past, used to have problems where he could say something, but he's a really nice person and good friend of mine."
The notion of Avery getting into trouble with his mouth was hardly groundbreaking, but the interview with Frolov on sport.ru quoted the former Rangers left wing as saying that Avery "called opponents 'black monkeys.'" Frolov vehemently denied having said that.
"I didn't say anything about Aves calling someone bad language – I was saying he's really emotional and that in the past he could say the wrong thing," Frolov told The News. "It wasn't particularly about black people. He doesn't have anything against black people. I mean, he's a nice person, and he wouldn't say something bad about black people or Asian people or any kind of people. It's some kind of misunderstanding."
Frolov, who played with Avery in New York, was also teammate of Avery's with the Kings in 2005, when Edmonton enforcer George Laraque, who is black, accused Avery of calling him "a monkey." (Avery denied it, and NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell said he didn't have enough evidence to confirm either player's story.) But Frolov said he'd never heard Avery say such a thing. Again, from the News:
"I never heard him call anyone anything like that," Frolov told The News. "Russian journalists, they were asking about him, and sometimes he could say something stupid, especially in the past. He's not a bad person. He's a good guy. ... I didn't try to say anything bad about Aves or say that he was trying to say something bad about anyone else."