According to a report from George Richards of the Miami Herald, Barch was ejected from Saturday's game due to his use of a racial slur that was directed at Subban.
In a separate report from Richards, Barch has denied any wrongdoing, and is working with the players association to prove his innocence.
"Scott Norton, who has known Barch since he was a 15-year-old junior player in Canada, said that Barch is 'upset and concerned for his family.' He added the comment directed toward Montreal's P.K. Subban from the Panthers bench was misconstrued and 'didn't have any racial undertones nor was a slur. It may have been a misunderstanding or taken out of context' by linesman Darren Gibbs."
Norton's comments don't exactly help the situation, because it is hard to have a comment be taken out of context as a racial slur. It makes it sound like the referees were out to get his client, which is ludicrous.
If The Allegations Are True, How Many Games Should Barch Be Suspended For?
The NHL has to take a hard stand against any racial prejudices. The league has worked hard at opening its doors to anyone who wants to play the game, but to think that there are no racial prejudices against these players would be naive.
Commissioner Gary Bettman has to investigate this incident and make a decision about what to do with Barch as soon as possible.
I don't know if the players association will make it possible for Barch to be sat down until the incident is investigated. But anything and everything that Bettman can do before making an official ruling has to be done.
There should be no tolerance for this kind of thing. It reflects poorly on Barch, the Florida Panthers and the NHL, and punishment should be meted to the full extent of Bettman's law.