SUN Hockey Pool

NHL notes: Barch says comment wasn't racial slur

Florida Panthers' Krystofer Barch. (REUTERS/Hans Deryk)

Florida Panthers' Krystofer Barch. (REUTERS/Hans Deryk)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:30 PM ET

Krystofer Barch apologized Thursday after drawing a one-game suspension from the NHL for making an inappropriate comment to the Montreal Canadiens' P.K. Subban, who is black.

But the Florida Panthers forward said his remark wasn't racially motivated.

Barch was ejected after speaking out at the end of the first period of the Panthers' 3-2 win last Saturday.

When Subban lost his balance after a fight with Panthers defenceman Erik Gudbranson, Barch yelled in Subban's direction that it looked as if the Habs defenceman had slipped on a banana peel, sources told the Miami Herald.

"It may have been inappropriate, but it was nowhere along the lines of racial slur," Barch said. "The things I said were pretty explicit, maybe not for kids' ears. That's why I really can't repeat what I said, because it wouldn't come across ... my grandma wouldn't want to hear it. Put it that way."

Barch said during his phone hearing with Colin Campbell, the senior executive vice-president of hockey operations, he was told that if the NHL believed his statement was racially charged he would have been handed a five- to 10-game suspension.

Said Campbell: "While we accept Mr. Barch's assertion ... he must be held accountable for making a comment that, in the context in which it was made, and in light of the entirety of the circumstances, was offensive and unacceptable."

FLYERS FANS SOUGHT IN BEATING

While the New York Rangers won the Winter Classic in Philadelphia on Monday, a couple of their fans apparently paid the price.

The Philadelphia police department has released surveillance video of an attack after the game in the hopes of identifying three suspects involved in beating two men wearing Rangers jerseys.

The video shows the suspects wearing Flyers jerseys beating and kicking the two victims outside a steakhouse in south Philadelphia.

One of the victims was an off-duty police officer from Woodbridge, N.J. He has been released from hospital but is on medical leave until cleared to return to active duty.

BRIEFLY

Rookie Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is expected to be out up to four weeks because of a left shoulder injury, the Edmonton OIlers announced Thursday. Nugent-Hopkins, the No. 1 pick in the 2011 draft, already has missed one game. He leads all rookies with 13 goals and 35 points in 38 games for the Oilers ... Nashville Predators captain Shea Weber, sidelined since Dec. 23 with a concussion, was cleared to return for Thursday's home game against Dallas. Weber missed four games. The standout defenceman led the Predators in assists (21), points (29) and plus-minus (+14) entering the game against the Stars ... The Carolina Hurricanes recalled forward Brett Sutter, 24, from the AHL's Charlotte Checkers for the third time this season. He has three assists in eight games this season with the Hurricanes, and five goals and seven assists in 28 games with the Checkers.


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