Former NHL star Sean Avery busted a man's car mirror during a heated altercation in L.A. Thursday morning ... but he tells TMZ Sports he's the real victim in the situation.
Here's the deal ... law enforcement tells us cops were called out to the 8300 block of the Yucca Trail near West Hollywood around 10 AM to respond to a call of vandalism.
What happened preceding the call, though seems to boil down to two sides.
On one end, there's Niku. On the other, there's Avery ... and both guys claim the other dude was the aggressor in the incident.
Niku says a couple weeks ago, back in mid-February, he got into a confrontation with Avery in the neighborhood after unintentionally blocking the former hockey player down a two-way, one-lane road.
Niku says when he backed up to let Avery by ... the 40-year-old ex-NY Ranger became aggressive, rolled down his window and yelled "slow down you fat f***" over and over.
Niku says he hadn't had any contact with Avery since ... until Thursday morning, when he drove by the NHL player, who was on a jog.
Niku claims Avery recognized him from their February incident, and became incensed, and chased after him.
In video of the incident, you can see what happened next ... Avery caught up to Niku and opened his door -- before Niku quickly pulled it shut.
Niku then rolled down his window and called Avery a "psychopath."
Avery then stood in front of Niku's car ... until Niku drove slowly towards him while honking his horn.
Avery eventually got out of the way, but elbowed the dude's driver's side mirror as he stepped aside.
Avery, though, claims the whole thing was started because Niku hit him while he was jogging.
Avery says he chased Niku down to try to get him to stop ... saying Niku, "Tried to run me over." Avery added, "My leg's a little hurt."
Cops wouldn't reveal any more details from their investigation into the incident Thursday ... only telling us that a report was taken. They added no arrests were made.
Avery was known as one of the NHL's toughest dudes during his 13-year playing career ... piling up over 1,500 total penalty minutes before retiring in 2012.