- Associated Press - Monday, January 2, 2012

CORAL SPRINGS, FLA. (AP) - Florida Panthers forward Krys Barch remained silent Monday about whatever he said that prompted an NHL inquiry and accusations that he directed a racial slur toward a Montreal Canadiens player.

Meanwhile, his coach said the team is expecting a quick resolution from the league, and one of his teammates called the matter a “misunderstanding.”

Barch practiced with the Panthers and was one of the last skaters off the ice Monday, two days after he was ejected Florida’s win over Montreal. The Miami Herald reported a linesman said he heard Barch direct a racial slur toward Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban, who is black.

Florida coach Kevin Dineen said the incident is under league review. With investigation still ongoing, and the season’s showcase game _ the Rangers-Flyers matchup at the Winter Classic in Philadelphia _ being played Monday, he was leery to discuss specifics.

“There’s a lot of respect for the process,” Dineen said after Monday’s skate was followed by an off-ice workout. “That’s a little wordy but that is the truth. The Winter Classic … we want to give that the opportunity to take center stage, and then the league will take care of their business (Tuesday). So it would be inappropriate for me to make any comments until they do their due diligence.

“Once the league has evaluated all the information that they have, then myself and Krys Barch will have further comment from there,” Dineen added.

Barch also did not comment after Saturday’s game. The Panthers were off Sunday.

The Panthers, who lead the Southeast Division, are off until visiting the New York Rangers on Thursday. Barch has no points in 22 games this season, the first 10 of those with Dallas before he joined Florida.

If the matter was weighing Barch down Monday, it didn’t show on the ice. He chatted with teammates between drills, stayed out for some extra work afterward and nodded toward a smattering of fans who were at the practice rink _ many shouting for his stick _ when he departed.

Panthers center Stephen Weiss, one of the team’s leaders, said Barch is handling the situation as well as can be expected.

“You know what, he’s been around,” Weiss said after practice Monday. “Certainly we’ve chatted a bit. I’ll keep that stuff private. But he’s a veteran guy. He knows how to handle that type of stuff. No one’s feeling worse than him. He feels terrible about the misunderstanding, but he’ll get through it and we’ll help him get through it as a team.”

Dineen said “all the information” about what happened Saturday will get out when the NHL inquiry is completed, and that the organization has had internal discussions about what took place in that game.

It’s unclear if Barch, who has spoken with the NHL players union about the incident, will meet with league disciplinary officials in the coming days.

“It’s not a cloud” over the team,” Dineen said. “I think it’s something that we’re all very sensitive to. Anytime that we’re put in a situation where you’re under league review you want to make sure that you certainly respect that process. And that’s right where we are right now.”


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