SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) Panthers forward Krys Barch was ejected after reportedly directing a racial slur at a Montreal player Saturday night, and Florida coach Kevin Dineen said it was now a matter for the NHL to investigate.
Barch was given a game misconduct after a dustup at the end of the first period in Florida's 3-2 win. The Miami Herald, citing an unidentified league official, said linesman Darren Gibbs overheard Barch use the slur against P.K. Subban, whose parents are Jamaican.
Barch left the dressing room before media members were allowed in for postgame interviews, The on-ice officials were not made available for comment.
''Personally, I didn't hear anything. I don't even know what happened, really,'' Subban said. ''A couple of guys on the ice told me that something was said. I don't know what was said. I didn't hear it. As far as I'm concerned it's really out of my hands, so I don't really know too much about it.''
Dineen was careful with his comments.
''Well, my take is we have an incredibly broken-up player in there who feels extremely bad that there was an insinuation that something inappropriate was said and now it's moved on to a league matter,'' Dineen said. ''And obviously the Florida Panthers, Krys Barch and all of us are really shaken up by this, that there was an insinuation that something was said that was inappropriate.''
''Again I'll leave it with the league right now, but I think this is always a very sensitive area for anybody and we'll let the facts play out and make sure that things are handled accordingly and move forward from there,'' he said.
Canadiens head coach Randy Cunneyworth had few details to offer.
''I know it was some sort of a game misconduct,'' he said. ''I'm not sure what was said or how it was relayed or who exactly heard it. We're not aware of the exact words in any way and we don't think we'll ever find out.''
''The bottom line is there is no room for that. Those things have to be (addressed immediately) and the referees are on the ball about those kinds of incidents,'' he said.
Shawn Matthias of the Panthers defended his teammate.
''You never want to see that and I know Barchy and I don't think that he's the type of guy that would do something of that nature,'' said Matthias, whose seventh goal of the season 3:08 into the third period broke a 1-all tie.
Added teammate Kris Versteeg: ''I don't think we can comment on it because it's obviously a touchy subject, but Krys is a good guy and he means no harm.''
Notes: With his assist on Tomas Fleischmann's tying goal in the second period, Stephen Weiss matched Olli Jokinen for the most assists in Panthers' history with 231. ... Fleischmann has scored three goals in two meetings with the Canadiens this season. ... Florida finished the month of December 5-2-1 on home ice. ... The Canadiens continue to struggle on the road as they fell to 9-11-1 away from home and are 0-2 against the Panthers this season.