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As Usual, All Eyes Are on Theo

The undercard of tonight's Islanders-Rangers clash at

Nassau Coliseum will feature Theo Fleury's personal battle with the Islanders.

In each game this season he has been involved in sideshow antics that have

sparked controversy, such as the infamous chicken dance, his obscene gestures

to the Coliseum crowd and breaking Eric Cairns' stick at the Rangers' bench.

Then, at the Olympics, Team Canada general manager and Phoenix Coyotes

owner Wayne Gretzky got into the fray when he suggested the next

Islanders-Rangers game will see retaliation against Roman Hamrlik for a

cross-check Hamrlik put on Fleury in a game between the Czech Republic and

Canada.

Islanders captain Michael Peca was a teammate of Fleury's with gold

medal-winning Team Canada and yesterday said despite the magnitude of the game

for the Rangers, he wouldn't put it past Fleury to do something outrageous.

"I think that with Theo - and he's shown at times that the position of his

team hasn't really meant much - he'd maybe sacrifice his team for it, so that

makes it unpredictable," Peca said. "You would think a guy on a team in their

position, that would be the last thing on his mind."

Fleury insisted there was far too much to concern himself with. "Two big

points," he said.

The Coliseum crowd this season has had a field day with him and even

targeted his recovery from substance abuse with derisive chants of "Crackhead

Theo." Fleury considered what he will have to face tonight. "I'm going to wear

ear plugs," he said.

Fleury didn't completely put the incident with Hamrlik to rest. "I think I

have to put this one in my back pocket," he said, "and just wait."

Arthur Staple contributed to this story.

New York Sports