A Carolina Hurricanes blog with occasional news about the rest of the NHL.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Simon suspended indefinitely, pending hearing.

Chris Simon has been suspended "indefinitely", without pay, pending a hearing. According to preliminary reports in the New York Times, this hearing was scheduled for next week. Some of this post was written with that mindset. Since then, it looks like they've bumped that meeting to Saturday afternoon.

On one hand, I like that the incident was partially addressed immediately, but on the other, I don't like that it was done half-assedly. Whatever Gary Bettman and Colin Campbell have planned for this weekend should be shelved and this should be addressed immediately.

I have faith that they will ultimately do the right thing, which is to suspend Simon for the remainder of this regular season and playoffs. I just wish they'd have their hearings over the weekend and hand down a swift and stern punishment. Remember the NBA's ugly brawl at Auburn Hills(Detroit) back in 2005? That Pistons-Pacers game was on a Friday night. By Sunday afternoon, NBA commissioner David Stern handed down his very swift, very stern, and very fair judgement. He didn't pussyfoot about the bush or postpone his judgement. In being swift and stern, he managed to save some of the NBA's face.

I'm not suggesting that the Simon incident is at all like the Pacers-Pistons brawl. Thank goodness for that.

The point is, I don't like that the NHL has decided to "sleep on it" over the weekend. While nobody wants a rush to judgement to occur in the real world, Bettman and Campbell have to realize that they're making the League look foolish when they don't come down quickly and forcefully on this matter. The sooner they get this resolved, the sooner we can move on and try to focus on the good things about hockey. The longer they let it drag on, the more people on the outside of our circle will pile more hate on our sport.

The fact that Ryan Hollweg is going to be fine should not be, as some suggest, a mitigating factor. Seriousness of injury has never been used as an exacerbating factor in determining the length of a suspension, so it shouldn't be used as a mitigator either. The only issue at hand is that Simon grossly violated the rules of the game and committed an act that can only be construed as a deliberate attempt to injure. Checking someone hard, checking someone illegally is one thing. Brandishing a weapon is quite another. Chris Simon made a really poor choice to do that, and he should suffer the consequences. He felt he had been "boarded" and was looking for recompense. Instead of hitting Hollweg with his fists or making a "run at him", he attacked Hollweg in a fashion that is so far beyond the limits of acceptability that no lenience should be granted whatsoever.

As many people have already pointed out, if Simon's stick had struck Hollweg's throat instead of his chin, we'd most likely be dealing with something much more serious.

It's impossible to get in the player's head and figure out exactly what he was trying to do with that baseball swing, but we can all agree that whatever his intent was, it wasn't good. We're probably all in agreement also that Simon completely snapped and made a horrible spur of the moment decision rather than a premeditated attack. That's what separates this from the Bertuzzi incident.

As I've said, though, I don't think there should be any mitigating factors here.

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