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.
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
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.