Monday, March 12, 2007

A(nother) Black Eye For The NHL

So, another player in the NHL has taken it upon himself to try and make the NHL top the days' headlines. Chris Simon's best Zorro impression on Ryan Hollweg (I'll forgive you if you've never heard of either player) earned him a minimum of a 25 game suspension. It could go longer depending on how far the Islanders go in the playoffs. The maximum it could reach this year is 43 games, but that is unlikely being that the Islanders are currently a 7th seed. (That could change, but not directly because of Simon). So again, we are treated to a player taking a two-handed swing with their stick at another player. It makes me sick and I'm happy about the suspension, but in my mind, it's not enough.

There is way too much stick-work in the NHL today - some say because players seem to feel more indestructable with helmets with shields. But that argument doesn't hold water. Players are required to be in control of their sticks at all times. Even when the stick rises against another and hits another player unintentionally, it is still a penalty. This was deliberate decision to take a swing at another player and 25 games, while the longest suspension ever, doesn't begin to cover it. Were Simon a rookie, unused to the pressure of the NHL and playing at so high a level, you could give that as a flimsy excuse that still wouldn't be enough.

Simon is a 35-year-old veteran who has been in the roll of agitator/tough guy for his whole career. Hard checks happen. If you don't like it, you challenge the guy to fight and settle it that way. It's unfortunate that the last thing the general sports public will remember about the NHL before March Madness is that some moron took a swing at another player. And then the "went to a boxing match and a hockey game broke out" jokes come back. This when the first player in years (and also one of the youngest) to have back-to-back 100 point season. No one remembers Crosby's accomplishment. It's sad.


Chris said...

I know that when I played hockey, I didn't feel invincible because of my helmet and other various pads. That never crossed my mind. And I never went simon on anyone, but I laid my share of hits. When I got aggressive with other players it was because sports are agressive and I had a weapon in my hand. Yes, players are responsible for their own behavior, but unless someone can figure out a way to play hockey without sticks, this won't change.
Any thoughts on the Pens staying in Pittsburgh?

PJ said...

BTW, your hits were weak... ;) I guess the Pens should stay in Pittsburgh because if they did move to Las Vegas, there's no way that Crosby ever reaches his full potential.