Like most people who follow the sport, I heard about the Chris Simon incident. If you've just returned from a relaxing vacation at the Rock Hilton, the gist is this - after being checked into the boards by Ryan Hollweg, Simon had a rush of blood to the head and hit Hollweg in the face with his stick. It was not an accidental hit, everything from Simon's posture to his grip on the stick screams that it was an assault, and only the most die-hard Islander could dare to claim otherwise. Simon later said that he was suffering from a concussion after the original check that was discovered later on, and claims that his memory of the unpleasant incident is fuzzy; the implication here is that Simon was not himself when he swung and it was a result of him just losing his temper and doing something reckless. I can relate, and so can many of you as we've all done things we later regretted when we lost our temper. Anyway, the upshot of this is that Simon will be banned for at least 25 Islander games - the exact terms are a bit cloudy, but my understanding is that he will banned for the 14 games remaining in the regular season, and then the entire postseason should the Islanders make it. If they do not, or if they don't play 11 games in the playoffs, the remaining suspension will spill over into next year's regular season. Some are claiming that this punishment is unfair, as it harms the Islanders' bid for the postseason, and I can see where they're coming from, but that's just a regrettable consequence of one player's rash action. It also means New York can give someone else a chance they might otherwise not have got. But anyway, the summary of this is that Chris Simon is banned for at least 25 games.
Somewhere, Ray Emery is sitting back and laughing with gusto.
Before you have fits of rage, let me make one thing clear. I have seen both hits, and I recognise that Emery's was nowhere near as bad as Simon's. Emery's was out of frustration and it was with the side of the blade, Simon's was a clear decision and it was with the edge of the blade. The two were different and should be treated differently. But Emery still hit a player in the face with his stick, that is the end result of his action. To give Simon a minimum 25 game suspension but to let Emery back into the net after just three games on the bench is ridiculous, nothing more, nothing less. I'm definitely not saying Simon's penalty should be reduced, I'm saying Emery's should have been longer, I'd say a ten-game minimum. Frustration isn't an acceptable excuse for hitting someone in the face with an object that could easily do some serious damage, and that's why I'm glad Simon got hit hard for his crime. Just think - if he'd swung a couple of inches higher, Ryan Hollweg could have been blind by now; if he'd swung a couple of inches lower, he could have fucked up Hollweg's windpipe and even killed him.