Board, Slash, It’s a Power Play Goal
Hollweg laid Simon into the boards hard. Whether or not that hit was legal will probably be something that’s debated for a long time to come. What came after that, Simon getting up and catching Hollweg in the face with his stick, won’t be.
Simon rightfully picked up a match penalty. Match penalties result in a five minute major on the ice, and are automatically reviewed by the league. Simon will be suspended. I’ll take a guess at 10 games.
The Rangers play the Islanders again on March 25th. The Islanders play seven games before that one, and whether or not Simon will be in the lineup is questionable.
I can’t tell you what Simon was thinking. I’m sure many media pundits will make the attempt. You’ll read and hear anything from he’s nothing but a goon (Simon has five fighting majors this season) to blaming the instigator rule.
As of this post, I haven’t heard any quotes from Simon to the media. Rangers coach Tom Renney wisely declined comment.
This is the sort of ugly incident that can bring hockey down in the media. Mainstream media and blogs will debate rules and suspension lengths for incidents like these, but lapse of judgement is just that, a lapse, and rules rarely matter.
More to come…
Update 1130pm: Just to fill in some details: if you didn’t know, the Rangers won the game 2-1. The game-winning goal was scored on the power play due to Simon’s penalty.
The Islanders appeared to score to tie it up with 20 seconds left, but the goal was waved off by one of the referees. After review it stood as no goal. Replays on MSG were close, but it looked fully over to me.
The benches are given an explanation for the call, but the fans aren’t. The league has asked the referees to mic up and call penalties to the crowd. Why not an explanation after review, just like in football? It’s ridiculous fans are kept in the dark.
Update Mar 9 1225am: ESPN replays Simon’s chop a good amount. They show reporters gathering around Simon after the game and him stating that he didn’t want to say anything about the incident at the moment. ESPN then turns it over to Barry Melrose who says that Simon’s act was the worst thing of that type he has seen in years. He also says that the NHL needs to come down fast and hard on Simon. His recommendation - A suspension spanning the rest of the season and at least some playoffs games provided the Isles reach the postseason. - John Chandler
Update Mar 9 245am: Some quotes in the NY Times, Rangers Take a Big Hit, Then Deliver a Bigger Blow:
“I’ve always been known as a clean guy and I just feel bad for letting my team down,” Simon said. “I just don’t really want to say anything about the incident right now because I have to talk with the league first.”
Hollweg did not express anger at Simon.
“I’m a little surprised,” Hollweg said. “As far as I knew we respected each other as hockey players and that’s it. I just play my game. And playing my game helped us win, so that’s good.”
Update Mar 9 400am: Simon Ejected In Isles’ Loss to Rangers (ESPN 360 video)
Update Mar 9 145pm: Simon Suspended Indefinitely
Some more reaction:
The Detroit News: Wings react to Simon incident
NBCSports.com: NHL must sit Simon for a long time
Damien Cox: Gettin’ Ugly Out There
Mike Chen: Chris Simon finally puts the NHL on US TV
Islanders Army: Ugly Day For Simon, Isles
Sweet Tea, Barbecue, and Bodychecks: Well isn’t that lovely?
hockeyfights.com poll: How long should Simon be suspended?
While current results are all over the place, when you group season and season+playoffs, that becomes the popular opinion (as of this update).
Update Mar 9 315pm: The Simon-Hollweg incident is a “latest news” item on the front of CNN.
Update Mar 9 350pm: Nassau DA Reviewing Islander’s Stick Hit
A stick-swinging hit by New York Islanders forward Chris Simon during an NHL game against the New York Rangers is being reviewed for possible criminal prosecution, a spokesman for Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said Friday.
“No decision has been reached; we are going to review the tape,” spokesman Eric Phillips told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.
Update Mar 9 1055pm: From Newsday’s Greg Logan, Simon Hearing Set:
Normally, Simon would be required to appear at league headquarters in Toronto, but a source said Simon isn’t allowed to fly because he might have a concussion from the hit by Hollweg that drove him into the glass and prompted his retaliation.
Of course, Simon automatically was suspended without pay yesterday because of the match penalty he received for intent to injure Hollweg. The location of the hearing wasn’t determined until tonight. Simon was examined earlier today for symptoms of a concussion at ProHEALTH Care in Lake Success, but no official diagnosis was released by the team.
Hollweg also was checked for signs of a concussion but was cleared to suit up for the Rangers tomorrow afternoon in Pittsburgh.
Mar 10 Update 230pm: More reaction:
While playing for the Vancouver Canucks in February 2000, Brashear was the victim of a similar attack by Marty McSorley, who was convicted of assault and never applied to the NHL for reinstatement after serving an indefinite suspension that lasted 23 games.
“It’s long gone for me,” Brashear said. “I just hope it doesn’t happen to any more guys like this. I hope a lot of guys can learn from this. It shouldn’t have to happen too often before somebody learns.”
Simon was suspended indefinitely by the NHL after Thursday’s incident.
“It’s just too bad, you know?” Brashear said “Sometimes in the game emotions get high and people get out of control. You try to do something different, and your stick gets up a little bit more than it’s supposed to.
“I have a lot of respect for Chris Simon. I know what type of guy he is. But sometimes you take actions and you pay for it. I know myself, I’ve been suspended a few times too.”
Pioneer Press, Schultz: Simon’s blow unacceptable in NHL:
“Obviously, in hockey that’s not accepted,” said Wild defenseman Nick Schultz, the team’s players union representative. “You look at head shots in football and other sports, it’s taken really seriously now. … You can see the intent of what he was trying to do. That’s not accepted. We don’t need that in the league.”
Kukla’s Korner has a TSN report and then league denial regarding Simon’s suspension, Suspension Details For Simon. The word was Simon’s gone for the rest of the season and either a playoff round or seven playoff games. The league denied anything’s official yet.
Update Mar 11 210am: A Statement From Chris Simon:
After watching the tape the morning after Thursday’s game, I was disgusted. There is absolutely no place in hockey for what I did.
I want to apologize to Ryan Hollweg. I was grateful to learn that Ryan is okay and that he returned to the game. My hope is to reach out to him in the near future.
I want to apologize to my team and Islanders fans everywhere. My actions Thursday night played a major part in our team losing a crucial game. I also want to apologize to the National Hockey League for the damage I have caused this great game of ours.
Update Mar 11 1200pm: It’s official, Chris Simon has been suspended 25 games. If the Islanders miss the playoffs, or exit before 10 games are played, the suspension carries through to next season.
Update Mar 11 650pm: More reaction:
Vicious hit stirs emotions in Komets coach, forward
Sens on Simon incident
Ugly scenes in sports not limited to hockey
Grier speaks about Simon’s first suspension, Simon said wrong thing but was forgiven
Gretzky offers Simon insight
Update Mar 14 200am: Thought I’d add a few more reaction articles.