12-19-2007, 09:42 AM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Its official...30 game suspension. http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/news_story/?ID=225518&hubname=
The National Hockey League has suspended New York Islanders forward Chris Simon for 30 games for stepping on Pittsburgh's Jarkko Ruutu last weekend. |
"There were several factors that were considered in imposing the largest suspension in NHL history for an on-ice incident," explained NHL Vice President Colin Campbell in a statement.
"While fortunate, Mr. Ruutu suffered no serious injury as a result of Chris Simon's actions, the deliberate act of kicking an opponent with a skate blade, especially when that opponent is in a vulnarable position, is and always has been a repugnant and totally unacceptable act in the game of hockey."
With the decision, Simon will forfeit $292,683 to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund and is eligible to return to the Islanders' lineup Feb. 21 against the Tampa Bay Lightning. In light of the severity of the discipline, a source close to the case believes Simon will be quick to appeal it.
"In addition, while the act itself was extremely dangerous, the fact that this is the eighth incident requiring the imposition of supplementary discipline on Simon compelled me to impose a very severe penalty in this case," Campbell added.
"When a player repeatedly evidences the lack of ability to control his actions and conducts himself in total disregard of the rules, as well the health and safety of other players on the ice, each subsequent incident is deserving of enhanced scrutiny and more severe discipline. This response serves not only the purpose of imposing appropriate punishment for the player involved, but also the purpose of deterring the player and all other players from engaging in similar conduct in the future - hopefully creating a safer long-term work environment for all NHL players."
Simon was called to an in-person hearing in Toronto on Tuesday to explain his actions from an incident last Saturday in a game against Pittsburgh where he stomped on Ruutu's leg. He received a match penalty with 5:54 remaining in a 3-2 loss to Pittsburgh.
While Tuesday's hearing in Toronto lasted aproximately 30 minutes, a source close to the process suggested the heart of the hearing was quickly dealt with in a 10-minute span.
Simon took a leave from the Islanders to receive counselling. "The Islanders and I agree that the right thing to do is for me to take some time away from the team" said Simon in a prepared statement on Monday.
"I have enjoyed a long career achieving my dream of being a player in the National Hockey League and I'm proud of my accomplishments. But I acknowledge that time and assistance is needed before I return to the game."
The Islanders reiterated its support for Simon in a release sent following after the NHL's decision.
"Since Saturday night, the focus of the New York Islanders has been on Chris Simon the person, not him as a player or on his place in our lineup," said general manager Garth Snow in a team-issued statement Wednesday.
"As we announced on Monday, the Islanders are going to provide Chris the time and support that he needs for counseling. For Chris right now, hockey must be secondary to the priority of taking care of himself. Chris has played 15 seasons in the National Hockey League, has won a Stanley Cup and just as importantly has won the respect of his teammates. He is an Islander, deserves our compassion, and we ask that all Islanders fans join us in supporting Chris every step of the way."
This suspension marks the eighth of Simon's 15-year NHL career and supplants his 25-game suspension last March for a stick swinging attack on Ryan Hollweg of the New York Rangers.
He received a three-game ban in 1997 after directing a racial slur toward player Mike Grier, who is black. Grier and Simon later became teammates with the Washington Capitals.
During the 2000 playoffs, Simon, then with Washington, sat out Game 2 after he cross-checked Penguins defenceman Peter Popovic across the throat in the opener.
In April 2001, he drew a two-game ban for elbowing defenceman Anders Eriksson of Florida. He was given a pair of two-game suspensions in 2004. The first was for cross-checking Tampa Bay's Ruslan Fedotenko and then jumping on him and punching him, and the second was for kneeing Dallas Stars blueliner Sergei Zubov. Fedotenko and Simon are now Islanders teammates after Fedotkeno signed on as a free agent last summer.