Simmonds denies using gay slur; no penalty from NHL

Wayne Simmonds was accused by Rangers forward Sean Avery of using a homophobic slur. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

  Flyers winger Wayne Simmonds strongly denied Sean Avery's claim that he directed a gay slur at the Rangers' forward in Monday's exhibition game.

  On Tuesday, Simmonds had a conversation with league officials about the alleged incident. He was not fined, and the NHL issued a statement Tuesday night saying there was no proof of a gay slur being used.

    The maximum Simmonds could have been fined was $2,500 for this type of incident, an NHL official said.

    In his previous game, a contest in London, Ontario, against Detroit, a fan threw a banana on the ice at Simmons in an apparent racial gesture. Simmonds is one of the league's few black players.

    “I’m getting press for things I wouldn’t like to get it for,” Simmonds said after Tuesday’s practice in Voorhees. “I’d rather see myself getting press for my play, instead it’s other things."

    Simmonds, 23, was ordered to talk with Colin Campbell, the NHL’s vice president of hockey operations, before Tuesday’s practice. “He asked me if I called him a gay slur and I said no. I said a lot of other things, but that wasn’t one of them. There a lot of things I said to him _ and obviously I’m not going to repeat them _ but I didn’t say that to him.”

    Simmonds, acquired in the deal that sent Mike Richards to Los Angeles, said he became incensed when he heard Avery say, "I really don't want to have to kill f---ing (Claude) Giroux," among other comments.

  * * *

  Scott Hartnell passed a stress test Tuesday and was cleared to play the final two exhibition games. The veteran winger had an elevated heartbeat and in his previous game.

   The doctor’s guess as to what happened?
   “Working too hard out there," Hartnell said with a smile. "(Coach Peter) Laviolette would say the exact opposite, but I’ll stick to working too hard."


   * * *

  JVR, Andreas Nodl and Brayden Schenn all missed practice Tuesday because of minor injuries, and the Flyers put Tom Sestito on waivers. They hope Sestito clears so he can be sent to the AHL Phantoms.

   GM Paul Holmgren said he was very optimistic that D Chris Pronger would be ready for next week's opener _ even if he doesn't play in the final two exhibition games.

   * * *

   Here were the lines at today's practice in Voorhees:



   Harry Z-Betts-Rinaldo/Shelley;


   D pairs:

   Mez-Timmonen; Lilja-Gus; Coby-Walker.

   Pronger, Carle and Bartulis were rotating in and out.

  * * *

    Follow Sam Carchidi on Twitter at BroadStBull.


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