What has the NHL learned? We’re about to find out
Chris Simon should be suspended for life, and he needs to be arrested and booked this morning as soon as the police can get to his house. No sport should tolerate an intentional swinging stick shot to the face, and I’m not the least bit interested in “he was aiming for the chest and it got away from him.” You go pumping rounds into the schoolhouse, you’re responsible if you happen to hit a kid.
But the NHL won’t suspend him for life because it’s run by some of the dumbest fuckwits in all of sport. Really, if they were any worse they’d be the WWE. Failing that, he should be out as long as Todd Bertuzzi should have been out when he maimed Steve Moore three years ago. That won’t happen, either. So he should be suspended at least as long as Bertuzzi was suspended? Nope – Hollwig didn’t even have to go to the hospital, right? Get ready for “it wasn’t nearly as bad as it looked.”
Well, what can we expect Simon’s punishment to be? Something in the range of a $50 fine and he has to carry his own bags for a week, maybe?
I didn’t watch the NHL for a year and a half after they returned from the strike because of how they bungled the Bertuzzi gooning (and I still haven’t spent a penny going to games, buying merch, etc.). This hit is worse in some respects. If Chris Simon plays again this year, I’m done with the NHL for good. If he plays before the middle of next season I may be done for good, as well. I hope I’m not the only one. Maybe a mass abandonment of the game will drive the point home that hockey needs to join us in the 21st Century. Otherwise, somebody is eventually going to die on the ice.
This is a big moment for the league, which is currently considering the somewhat counter-intuitive possibility that weakening the instigator rule will help
bring freedom to Iraq decrease on-ice violence. Really, did they learn anything from the Bertuzzi debacle? The changes made in the rules during the strike dramatically improved the flow of the game and helped drive significant attendance increases (although it cost them dearly in the TV contract department), but they didn’t get serious about the UFC element. And it’s not like it takes a rocket surgeon to figure it out, either. If When they fuck this one up, I wonder how many people like me are going to say enough is enough.
Who am I kidding, huh? Simon will get a few games, pay a fine and sales of his sweater will probably double. I hope that later today I can post a comment here noting how unbelievably wrong I was. I’d like to be able to praise the front office for getting serious about cleaning up their game, because the truth is that I love watching hockey.
But call Vegas and see what kind of odds they’ll give you on Simon being suspended a year or longer. My prediction? He pays the max fine, sits the rest of the regular season and is back for the playoffs.
And I’m a former hockey fan.