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Wild suspends prospect two games for tweet of gay slur

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO
  • Star Tribune
  • February 14, 2012 - 7:52 AM

The Wild suspended Houston Aeros forward Justin Fontaine for two games after he used a gay slur during a Twitter exchange about the Grammy Awards with a teammate on Sunday night.

Fontaine soon removed the tweet and apologized, saying, "My apologies to everyone, it was wrong. Twitter rookie and it came out totally wrong. It was a roommate battle, nothing more. #sorry."

By that time, however, it was retweeted by another teammate and spread across the Internet.

"Minnesota Sports and Entertainment (MSE) apologizes for the offensive slur that was posted by Justin Fontaine on Twitter last night," the Wild said in a statement Monday night. "Fontaine has been suspended from playing in the next two games for the Houston Aeros."

Fontaine, 24, was unavailable for comment but wrote on his Twitter account to a fan Monday that he felt "awful" and "it's a word I'll never use again."

Fontaine signed as a free agent after helping Minnesota Duluth to a national championship last spring. He is the Aeros' second-leading scorer with 34 points in 49 games.

Prior to the season, the NHL issued a social media policy, which includes a "blackout period" on game days.

Also, "the new policy makes it clear that players and club personnel will be held responsible for their social communications in the same manner in which they are held responsible for other forms of public communications.

"As a result, discipline is possible for any social media statements that have or are designed to have an effect prejudicial to the welfare of the league, the game of hockey or a member club, or are publicly critical of officiating staff."

More than a dozen Wild prospects are on Twitter, as well as four Wild players -- Devin Setoguchi, Guillaume Latendresse, Matt Kassian and Justin Falk.

Foucault to debut

With Cal Clutterbuck doubtful to play against Anaheim because of a charley horse, Kris Foucault is expected to make his NHL debut. He would be the 39th player to dress for a skate and seventh to make his Wild debut this season.

He said his body tingled when he got the call Sunday.

"I'm surprised," Foucault said. "It's a tough time in the season right now. We're trying to claw back into the playoffs, so getting the call right now, it's good for my confidence."

Foucault, a 2009 fourth-round draft pick, scored nine goals and 16 points in 2010 to help the Calgary Hitmen win the WHL championship. He had a terrific development camp last summer for the Wild.

"He was a part of that Calder Cup [Finals] run last year," Aeros General Manager Jim Mill said. "He learned a lot last year in the playoffs as a bystander, as a Black Ace. He saw the momentum, the battle, the work involved in that grind and it helped in his transition from being a junior to a pro. He can skate and he's creative. He has a really good shot, and I hope we see him use it."

Etc.

• With defenseman Marco Scandella recalled, both Falk and Mike Lundin will be scratched Tuesday, coach Mike Yeo said.

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