It took less than 24 hours for Sean Avery to apologize for saying yesterday that his National Hockey League opponents "fall in love with my sloppy seconds." In fact, he's already flown to New York to grovel before the league commissioner. Although Avery is famous for picking these kinds of fights, it appears the recent Vogue intern's media instincts pushed him way over the line:

"I would like to sincerely apologize for my off-color remarks to the press yesterday from Calgary," Avery said. "I should not have made those comments and I recognize that they were inappropriate.

"It was a bad attempt to build excitement for the game, but I am now acutely aware of how hurtful my actions were. I caused unnecessary embarrassment to my peers as well as people I have been close with in the past.

"I apologize for offending the great fans of the NHL, the commissioner, my teammates, my coaching staff and the Dallas Stars management and ownership. As many of you know, I like to mix it up on and off the ice from time to time, but understand that this time I took it too far."

The NHL could leave him twisting in the wind on indefinite suspension. But odds are he begs forgiveness and, having generated loads of free not-really-harmful publicity for the league and himself, gets it, returning to his $16 million four-year contract and freshly-burnished bad-boy image.