Friday, March 09, 2007

Friday Roundup/Gamenight: 'Canes @ Caps

[SeSo Open Thread]

Tonight the 'Canes come to town fighting for their playoff lives. I'll have some thoughts on the game over at SeSo today, but today's discussion here will likely be driven by hockey's latest black eye, Chris Simon's hit on Ryan Hollweg. Here's the video:

First, let me say that incidents like these are exactly what hockey doesn't need. Do they talk puck on "Mike & Mike in the Morning" when Sidney Crosby has a huge night or when Steve Yzerman's jersey is retired? Of course not. But they did this morning. It's just more fuel for the anti-hockey fire, and it's a shame.

As for the substance of the matter, here's my take - it's not as bad as the Bertuzzi/Moore incident, the obvious benchmark. In fact, a better measuring stick would be McSorley/Brashear. Why? Because there was no pre-meditation here. Don't get me wrong, I am not defending, condoning or otherwise minimizing what Simon did. But it was a "heat of the moment"-type move. In the legal arena that's a huge mitigating factor and I think it should be one here (speaking of the legal arena, will assault charges be filed? I doubt it, but it's certainly something to watch for).

Personally, I'd give Simon the rest of this season and the playoffs and let any other punishment come via frontier justice next season. You'll find links to a lot of blogger reaction in the "What J.P.'s Reading" section of the sidebar, but what do you think? For some other comparisons, check this clip out:

Daily Awards
  • Hart: Jason Arnott (2G, A, +3,5 SOG, 2 takeaways, 0 giveaways, 65% faceoffs)
  • Ross: Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Arnott, Jay McClement (3 points each)
  • Norris: Shea Weber (2G, including the game-winner, 5 SOG, 3 hits)
  • Vezina: Henrik Lundqvist (W, 30 saves on 31 shots against in 2-1 win at Islanders)
  • Richard: Shea Weber, Jason Arnott, Jon Sim, Dean McAmmond, Mike Fisher, Doug Weight, Jarome Iginla (2G each)
  • Calder: Evgeni Malkin (G, A, 3 SOG)
  • Aiken: Jaroslav Halak (L, 5 goals allowed on 15 shots against in 26:47 of work)


The Peerless said...

It is precisely that this is not in the legal arena (yet) that I think this incident is worse than the Bertuzzi-Moore incident. There are and should be legal remedies for this sort of thing (frankly, I think Bertuzzi got off lightly in that regard). In that realm, I think the effect and the context have different considerations -- Moore's injury (which effectively ended his career) and the premeditative aspect of it, for example.

But in the bounded context of hockey and the National Hockey League, this is worse, in my opinion. Hockey is a game that plays on the edge of riot, and the boundary here is the fact that players play the game with what are weapons. When the threshold is crossed from using the equipment as a scoring tool to that used to inflict injury -- even if done in "the heat of the moment" -- the league has to step in quickly and decisively, or suffer with respect to its aspirtations to be a major sport. The league can't afford anything but "zero-tolerance" for this sort of thing. The potential effects on the sport for stick work of this sort creeping into the game are, in my opinion, greater than what might have been the case in the aftermath of the Bertuzzi-Moore incident.

JP said...

All valid points. What would your punishment be, Peerless?

And here's your money Quote of the Day:

"I’ve always been known as a clean guy," Simon said.

He's been suspended, what, four or five times in his career before this for violence-related incidents (and once for dropping an N-bomb)?

Smitty said...


I remember when I loved that guy.

Give him the rest of this season, the playoffs, and half of next season to think it over. Forward his paychecks to Hollweg during that time as well.

I wouldn't object to putting him in the stocks in front of MSG for a few days either.

I don't mind rough stuff, but it needs to be kept clean, and that was a long long way from clean. Reminds me a little bit of Hunter's legendary late hit, just a whole lot dirtier.

JP said...

Here's a follow-up question - is Simon's filth made any worse by the fact that he's a so-called enforcer who should live by the almighty "code"? If a finesse player gets hit like Simon did, pops up and takes a hack, is it as deplorable?

Anonymous said...


Yes, it is just as deplorable. There's a HUGE difference between running at someone and hitting him with your fists while holding your stick, and swinging your stick at him like a baseball bat. Heat of the moment and all that, but even within the "code" there are things such as you don't treat someone's head like a baseball on a tee, you don't try to kick anyone, etc.

And a clean player? Maybe in his mind.

This could have easily ended someone's career, possibly even someone's life. (Imagine if he had cracked his skull, or gotten him in the throat...)

Easily the rest of this season and the playoffs. Another 15-20 games next season? Half of next season? Anything less would have me shaking my head in disdain for Bettman.

JP said...

So prior history is irrelevant in your mind? Same suspension for a multiple offender as for a guy with a clean slate? Punish the act and not the actor (or the result)?

I'm not disagreeing - just raising some of the questions that come out of an incident like this.

showtyme21 said...

I'm torn.

I like Simon as a player. He's an "enforcer", but also gets a few points, although I haven't followed him much this year, so I don't know if his points are still happening. (and I'm too lazy to check).

As much as I like Simon, I like the NHL far more, and if they continue to allow this type of incident, to go relatively unpunished, they are asking for trouble.

As much as I hate to say it, it's gotta be for the remainder of the year and playoffs. Let him come back next year and try and regain his "clean reputation" (by his own admission). Why should an entire reputation (albeit, a little colorful), be completely destroyed by one moment of brain cramp.

Smitty said...

Nowhere in "the code" does it say anything about a two-handed stick chop to the head in response to a clean hit, be it on a skill player or goon. It doesn't matter.

Intent to injure is never excusable, whether a first act or as retaliation.

Simon, McSorely, and Bertuzzi should form a support group for undisciplined enforcers who cross the line.

JP said...

My point about the "code" is that an enforcer like Si should always know better (of course theoretically everyone should), whereas if it was some little French winger who's not used to the rough stuff, maybe it's a little different. Likely not.

FAUXRUMORS 2 said...

1) While we agree that Simon is likely done its NOT because he deserves that much. It'll be a long suspension because of all the negative media hype surrounding this incident
2) For starters, Hollweg barely missed a shift. He should have been whistled himself for a 2 or 5 minute boarding major against Simon.
3) If fighting were allowed/encouraged as it should be(its rare in the final 5 minutes of a game) Simon more likely would have dropped his gloves and rearranged Ryan's face. In the New NHL fighting is discouraged. If anything this incident shows the true necessity of pugilism.
4) Sadly the anti-fighting faction will use this as a demonstration of how 'violence' is hurting hockey.
5) Simon would have recieved about 5 games if this wasn't blown WAY out of proportion. Now he'll be lucky to get 15.

Anonymous said...


In answer to your question, in certain instances, history would matter. But in something like this, no.

If Ovechkin or Crosby did the same thing, I'd be yelling just as loudly for an extended suspension. It's not like they're new to the game, they've never been hit before, etc. I can't believe that it wasn't drilled into them (everyone) at a young age to not swing your sticks at another player. ESPECIALLY at the head.

Now, if he had hit him in the chest/stomach, that's where you have the wiggle room to use someone's prior history for/against them. Plus, it wasn't like he immediately turned around and swung in a reaction. He had time to think about what happened and what he was doing.

Chris said...

I thought the initial hit was boarding, too.

I'm a little late to the Caps as a fan, but that History 'o Hits clip reminded me why I don't share the Caps love of Dale Hunter. Big difference between a bruising player and a goon. After a season watching The Donald, I think we have an excellent example of how to walk that line.

Shayne said...

Any player who chops another player with a stick in the face at this time of the season should get the rest of this season plus 28 more games (the max number of playoff games for any one team) that would be enforced this playoff season and the beginning of the next season. This equals approximately 1/2 of a season, and includes the most important games of the year, i.e. playoffs. The player should go to anger management classes. All salary is forfeited to the injured players fund or wherever else suspension/fine money goes. That's the baseline.

Then the league should take into consideration previous suspension for violence. Players get carried away and do stupid things. Set the penalty high for everyone. But for players that have a history of violence, the standard penalties just don't get through to them, so the penalty levelled against them should be harsher. Give Simon another 1/2 a season to mull it over. Make it a full 82 games suspension. If this was the second time Simon had chopped a player in the face with his stick, we wouldn't be talking suspensions in terms of games, it would probably be in terms of seasons.

Even though Holloweg wasn't "really" injured, that's more of a lucky break than anything else. Two inches higher and he might have lost an eye. Two lower and his airway might have collapsed. The extent of the injury doesn't matter, it's the act of what the player did.

Go Devils.

JP said...

On a marginally-related note, did anyone catch the end of regulation in the Pens-Devils game last night? The refs lost total control of that one, and it could have devolved into a similar situation pretty easily, it seemed.

FAUXRUMORS 2 said...

1) Should Simon be suspended? Ofcourse. No one is defending his actions, but the sillieness that he 'could have killed him' is beyond inane. Almost every check could concievably 'kill' someone
3) The Jansson check last week on Karbele could have killed him and he got 3 games. Neil's elbow of Drury could have killed him. And Karbele and Drury actually WERE injured!! Hollweg was NOT!
4) Anything MORE than what Jannsson got is a travesty

JP said...

That's ridiculous, Faux. Simon used a weapon - the other two guys used their bodies (albeit somewhat like weapons).

Dave in DC said...

Simon, and his once and current teammate Witt, are the king and prince of the stupid, badly timed penalty. Forget the egregious, CS nature of the hit but look at the timing... and it cost his team the game and valuable points.

Stupid is as stupid does...
McSorley never came back from his cheap shot, will Simon?

Rage said...

Faux, that's amazingly ridiculous. A stick to the throat could shatter everything in there. As someone who has suffered from thyroid and other throat problems, I'm well aware of how delicate that stuff is.

If he had gotten hit in the throat, he would have needed an on-ice tracheotomy. Good freaking luck playing after that.

2 inches away. Send him to his house for the season plus the 28 like someone suggested.

The Peerless said...

My punishment? At a minimum, the remaining 15 games of the season and the playoffs. Then, his return would be contingent upon a request for reinstatement to the league.

I'd be inclined to give him a year, but that's someone speaking in the fresh aftermath of the incident.

Rage said...

The announcers for the Rangers game vs. Pitt was saying that Simon is gettinng 15 + 7 more in the playoffs. Too little if true.

JP said...

I saw that report. Maybe the League leaked it to guage reaction (and I agree - not enough).

Btw, there's a link in the "What J.P.'s Reading" sidebar to a Kukla's post that is updating the situation and is probably the best source for legit current info on the issue.