Florida forward Krys Barch has been suspended one game for making “inappropriate comments” towards Montreal’s PK Subban. According to George Richards of the Miami Herald, Barch asked Subban if he “slipped on a banana peel” after falling in a first-period tussle with Erik Gudbranson.
More, from Richards:
The incident occurred during a Dec. 31 game between the Panthers and Canadiens. The Miami Herald — citing an anonymous league official — said linesman Darren Gibbs heard Barch’s verbal exchange with Subban, interpreted Barch’s comments as racial in nature and ejected Barch based on NHL Rule 23.7 (iii) — game misconduct for racial taunts or slurs.
Shortly thereafter Barch’s agent, Scott Norton, told the Herald his client was innocent.
“Krys’ commentary to me is that he did say something,” Norton said. “At the end of the day, we’re confident there will be no further punishment and he will be cleared of wrong doing and his name will be cleared.”
The investigation of and punishment for this incident was handled by NHL Director of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell. Sensitivities may have been heightened to Barch’s comments after a preseason incident where a fan threw a banana at Philadelphia Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds. The fan later claimed he was unaware of the racial overtones of his actions.