Oilers defenceman Ladislav Smid spoke to media on Friday for the first time since suffering a concussion in Sunday's altercation with Rangers' super-pest Sean Avery, an incident which many players referred to as a "sucker-punch".
With the Rangers leading 5-2 in the third period, Avery laid a hard but clean hit on Edmonton forward Colin Fraser. Smid approached Avery and challenged him to a fight, which he said Avery initially turned down, only to go after Smid after he had started to skate away.
"I asked him if he wanted to go, he said 'Next shift', so I kind of half-turned and then he went after me," Smid said on Friday. "A little bit of a cheap play but I should be smarter than that. I should expect that, especially maybe from him."
The incident sparked a massive brawl that resulted in 124 penalty minutes being handed out.
"I was just trying to stand up for my teammate," Smid said. "(Fraser) got crushed by Avery so I tried to stand up there but I didn't want to take an instigator because it was still 5-2 and I thought we still had a chance to come back. After, it just happened. It's a good lesson for me for next time.
"Like I said, I'm going to be smarter next time. I know his past. I guess that's what he does," Smid said. "He's just waiting when you're not really ready and then he jumps you and it gives him that advantage."
There was certainly no shortage of opinion on Avery's actions in the days following the melee.
"It's gutless," said Fraser. "That's expected from Sean Avery, it's no secret."
On the other side of things, Canucks forward Alexandre Burrows weighed in with some less-than-kind words for the Edmonton blueliner Smid.
"I didn't mind it," Burrows said. "I don't really like Ladislav either so I thought it was pretty good thing that somebody gives it to him."
On Friday, Smid addressed Burrows' comments, or rather refrained from doing so.
"I heard about it, I don't really care about that guy, so whatever," Smid said.
Smid has not played since suffering a concussion on the play. On Friday, he said his neck was more of an issue than his head, adding that he was recovering well and was hoping to be back in time to play against the Coyotes on Tuesday (which would have him missing Friday's game against Phoenix and Sunday's against Anaheim).
Smid mentioned that he had ridden the bike on Thursday with no symptoms and that a neuro-psych test had been performed.
The Rangers and Oilers do not meet again during the 2010-11 regular season.