BOSTON -- In a preseason game between the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers on Monday night, Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds allegedly directed a homophobic slur at Rangers forward Sean Avery. The NHL decided not to suspend Simmonds for the incident but stressed that such language will not be tolerated on the ice.
"Because of conflicting accounts of what transpired on the ice, we have been unable to substantiate with the necessary degree of certainty what was said and by whom,” NHL senior executive vice president of hockey operations Colin Campbell said in a statement earlier this week. "All players, coaches and officials in the National Hockey League deserve the respect of their peers, and have the absolute right to function in a work environment that is free from racially- or sexually-based innuendo or derision. This is the National Hockey League's policy and it will remain so going forward."
Bruins head coach Claude Julien said he agrees that such language and taunting should be punished, and that he is actually disgusted with the direction trash-talking in games has taken.
“There's a rule in place for certain type of language -- whether it's to referees and stuff like that, you certainly can get tossed out of a game. I'm one of those guys that believe that you know you shouldn't be crossing the lines,” Julien said. “There's some things that are being said out there that are really crossing the line. Whether that's been like that decades ago, I'm not quite sure. People are going after divorces or calling people certain names that I don't even want to allude to here, but there is a fine line I think that has to exist.”
As far as Julien is concerned, it's always tough to determine who’s at fault when it comes to things that are said on the ice. But, he said, the players could -- and should -- be more respectful.
“There's gamesmanship and then there's crossing the line, and, you know, I think more and more, players today are going further than they used to," Julien said.
"You'd hoped that it would be policed by themselves, by having a little bit more respect for each other,” Julien said. “They are part of a player's association and they should all be part of a group. There should be at least that kind of respect that exists.”