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Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller accuses ref of using profanity

BUFFALO, N.Y. - Sabres goalie Ryan Miller on Tuesday accused an NHL referee of using a profanity in response to a question the player asked during Buffalo's 4-3 win at Pittsburgh a night earlier.

Miller told several reporters after practice that the exchange occurred during the second period Monday, after he said he respectfully asked a referee a question.

Miller wouldn't say which of the two referees working the game - Tim Peel or Justin St. Pierre - had made the comment. He also didn't say what he had asked the official.

"To be honest, I was respectful," Miller said.

In an e-mail to The Associated Press, NHL spokesman Frank Brown said he was checking with the league's hockey operations department regarding Miller's complaint.

The goalie raised the issue after he was asked what he discussed with coach Lindy Ruff at the end of practice.

Miller said he joked with Ruff that the exchange with the official might have played a factor a few minutes later when the Sabres were issued a bench minor penalty for arguing an interference penalty against Thomas Vanek.

Ruff wasn't available for comment because he had spoken to reporters before Miller.

The complaint comes a week after Dallas Stars forward Sean Avery was suspended for six games by the NHL for making crude comments regarding his ex-girlfriends dating other hockey players, using the term "sloppy seconds."

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman deemed Avery's behaviour as unacceptable and detrimental.

Avery has apologized for his remarks and has agreed to be evaluated for anger management.

Though he's eligible to return Dec. 16 against Phoenix, the Stars have not yet determined whether to allow him to remain on the team.

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