Simon's penalty for attack on Penguins' Ruutu largest.......
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Simon's penalty for attack on Penguins' Ruutu largest in modern NHL history
NEW YORK -- New York Islanders forward Chris Simon was banned for 30 games Wednesday, drawing the longest suspension in modern NHL history again.
The Islanders confirmed the league's suspension for Simon's latest infraction, committed when he stepped on Pittsburgh's Jarkko Ruutu with his skate during a game last weekend.
Simon missed the first five games of this season while completing a 25-game ban handed out in March. That was the previous modern-day record for an NHL suspension. This is the seventh time in Simon's career that he has been suspended.
"There were several factors that were considered in imposing the largest suspension in NHL history for an on-ice incident," NHL vice president Colin Campbell said.
"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 vulnerable position, is and always has been a repugnant and totally unacceptable act in the game of hockey."
The 35-year-old player went on a paid leave of absence Monday to receive counseling, and then met with the league's disciplinarian Colin Campbell on Tuesday in a 30-minute hearing.
Simon agreed he needed time away from hockey after he stomped on Ruutu during a 3-2 loss to the Penguins on Saturday. Simon drew a match penalty when he pulled out Ruutu's leg with his, sending the forward to his knees between the team benches. He then stepped on the back of Ruutu's leg with his skate, and was ejected.
"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," Islanders general manager Garth Snow said in a statement confirming the suspension.
"As we announced on Monday, the Islanders are going to provide Chris the time and support he needs for counseling. For Chris right now, hockey must be secondary to the priority of taking care of himself."
According to TSN and Newsday, Simon is expected to file an appeal.
On March 11, Simon was suspended 25 games -- 15 regular-season games, five playoff games, and five games to open this season -- for his two-handed stick attack to the face of New York Rangers forward Ryan Hollweg.
"While the act itself was extremely dangerous, the fact that this is the [seventh] incident requiring the imposition of supplementary discipline on Simon compelled me to impose a very severe penalty in this case," Campbell said. "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 to be paid during his leave, but with the suspension, Simon will forfeit $292,683.
"It's excessive," Islanders coach Ted Nolan said after the Islanders' morning skate in Buffalo, where they play the Sabres Wednesday night. "What I think has no bearing on the facts. The league suspended him ... now we have to support Chris while he goes through this process and give him all the compassion and all the support we can give him as an organization."
This is his 7th incident??!!?? Maybe he should be banned from hockey altogether......