Back-slash surprises Roy

STEVE MACFARLANE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:11 AM ET

Making the throat-slashing gesture during a game is going to be a hard habit to break for Calgary Flames tough-guy Andre Roy.

But after being cut some slack and avoiding a second suspension from the league for the hand signal, he's sure going to try.

"It's just a gesture. It's just a bad habit," Roy said yesterday following his meeting with NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell in Toronto.

"I should just go like Phil Esposito," he continued, pounding his fist, putting up his dukes and pointing at nobody in particular in the Flames locker-room.

After gesturing to the Columbus Blue Jackets bench last Wednesday, Roy didn't think anything of it despite being suspended by the NHL for two games in 2005 as a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins and then a year ago in Tampa by the Lightning organization for doing the same thing when he lost his cool with Philadelphia Flyers enforcer Riley Cote.

Then he was tracked down by Flames GM Darryl Sutter Saturday and told Campbell wanted to meet. That had Roy a little worried.

"I didn't expect a call, and going there ... I have a little bit of a history but I've talked to (Campbell) over the phone whenever there were things to be talked about," said Roy. "Going there, I was like, 'Man, it wasn't that bad. I didn't lose my mind or anything.'

"I didn't know what to expect."

What took place was an exchange of thoughts on the incident. The trip itself was a stern enough warning.

"He told me that he's not going to suspend me. I hope I don't receive a paper, a bill," said Roy, in a good mood knowing he would be in the Flames lineup tonight against the Buffalo Sabres.

Flames defencemen Robyn Regehr and Dion Phaneuf also avoided suspensions after questionable hits were reviewed by the league.

Next time, Roy won't be so lucky. And he can't promise there won't be a next time.

He understands why he can't make the gesture and doesn't want to set a bad example for kids.

It's easier said than done, though, especially in the heat of the moment.

"I've just got to be careful," said Roy. "I'll try to behave from now on."

His head coach, Mike Keenan, is confident Roy can restrain himself.

"Certainly, we'll reinforce Colie's expectations from a league perspective," said Keenan. "Andre is very clear what those expectations are, and I'm sure that he'll abide by what the league protocol is."


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