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‘He must be held accountable’ -- NHL suspends Shaw for homophobic slur

The Blackhawks will be without Andrew Shaw in a crucial Game 5 due to a one-game suspension for offensive comments and an inappropriate gesture in Game 4. Shaw was extremely effective and will be missed by the team.

The NHL hit Andrew Shaw with a pretty telling punishment on Wednesday, suspending him one game for yelling a homophobic slur near the end of Chicago’s 4-3 loss to St. Louis last night.

Shaw was also fined $5,000 for his actions towards the officials -- raising what appeared to be both middle fingers while arguing a penalty call.

“While Mr. Shaw was apologetic and remorseful for both the offensive comments and the inappropriate gesture directed at the on-ice officials, he must be held accountable for his actions,” NHL senior VP Colin Campbell said in a release. “The emotion of the moment cannot and will not be a mitigating factor for the conduct that is expected of an NHL player.”

Shaw initially said he didn’t know what he said to referees while in the penalty box, but in today’s statement admitted that -- after going home and watching the video -- “it was evident what I did was wrong.”

The 24-year-old said he was “sincerely sorry for the insensitive remarks that I made,” before apologizing to the gay and lesbian community, the Blackhawks organization and fans.

“I know my words were hurtful,” Shaw said in closing. “I will learn from my mistakes.”

The Blackhawks, in a separate statement, said they were “extremely disappointed” in Shaw’s actions, noting his remarks “do not reflect what we stand for as an organization.”

The club went on to cite its support of the Chicago Gay Hockey Association and You Can Play Project -- the latter of which took immediate issue with Shaw’s actions last night.

As for Shaw’s future, Tuesday’s actions could write a very unfortunate end to his season, and perhaps his time with the organization.

The Blackhawks head into Game 5 down 3-1 in the series and on the brink of elimination -- and Shaw is a pending RFA this season, with no guarantees the cap-strapped club can bring him back.

UPDATE: The You Can Play Project has since issued the following statement.