Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Punishment Fits the Crime for Simon

The NHL handed down a swift and severe decision to New York Islander Chris Simon today. The rugged winger will sit for a league record 30 games after stepping on Pittsburg pest, Jarkko Ruutu, with his skate blade last weekend. Simon has also been granted a leave of absence by the Islanders to attend counseling that, according to ESPN, is not related to drugs or alcohol.

This marks the eighth suspension of Simon's career. Simon's most notable suspensions include a stick swing to the face of Ranger's pest, Ryan Hollweg, last year. Simon was also suspended for a racial slur directed to Mike Grier. In the 2000 playoffs, Simon slashed Peter Popovic in the throat with his stick, earning him a one-game suspension. Simon has also been suspended for a variety of other elbow and fighting incidents.

While I think the league's decision to go to longer suspensions was a poor one (one that started with Steve Downie), I am convinced they got this suspension right. At this point, I'm not even that concerned with the length of the suspension. Chris Simon needs help, which I am glad to hear he is seeking. His inability to think before acting has caused him to use the two deadliest pieces of equipment a hockey player uses, a stick and razor sharp ice skates.

I do hope to see Chris Simon playing again on Long Island this year; but this time with a clearer mind. Simon is an offensively-gifted enforcer. And those types of players are few and far between these days. And although this might not be a popular thing to say, the next time a pest gets under your skin Chris Simon, drop your gloves, pick up an instigator, and go to town. Sitting out of a game for 17 minutes is a lot easier to handle then missing 30 games.


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1) You may not have either seen Simon play this season and/or hear his recent comments about the incident:
a) he is no longer showing any signs of being a competent NHL player. He seems to have lost what limited offensive skills he once possessed
b) More ominously, he appears to still be in denial about the incident. Stating his intentions were not to injure Rutuu, when replays differ from that assessment. Also stating that he hasn't(yet) caused a player to miss any games with his suspendable acts
2) Simon needs to just go away now.

Hannibal said...

FR -

1) I believe it's fair to say that Simon isn't a wasted roster space as some may argue that other "enforcers" are. In the past, he has contributed offsensively - sometimes significanty. Granted, I don't think he is playing like he was when he topped 30 goals/season but he can still be a possitive.
2) I heard these comments but (in giving him the benefit of the doubt) I interpreted them as him saying he didn't make a concious decision to try an injure anyone. I think his actions were "snaps". Where his judgement failed him and he reacted without thinking. I don't consider that an excuse by any means nor do I consider the fact that no one has a missed a game due to his actions to be one either. I firmly believe that is simply luck. Had someone been injured, I don't think Simon would be looking at the possibility of a return to the NHL ever again.

I think the suspension length was right on the money. Had it been someone else, I don't think it would have been quite so harsh. But given the scenerio (retaliation) and given his prior history (for impulse retaliation) - I got to agree with the NHL on this one.