“Justice is the one thing you should always find
You got to saddle up your boys
You got to draw a hard line
When the gun smoke settles well sing a victory tune
Well all meet back at the local saloon
Well raise up our glasses against evil forces
Singing whiskey for my men, beer for my horses”
Colin Campbell perhaps hummed a few lines from the Toby Keith song as he broke out the beer for the horses on Sunday, after he announced his decision in the Chris Simon stick swinging incident.
The nasty bit of un-sportsmanship, which was topic number one last week in both NHL and non NHL circles now sees Simon’s play finished for this year and maybe a bit of next season.
Simon received the sixth suspension of his career on Sunday and goes into the history books as the recipients of one of the toughest suspensions in NHL history. Colin Campbell, Chief Magistrate of Law and Order in the NHL announced that the league has banned Simon from the remaining 14 games the Islanders play in the regular season and the entire playoffs should they qualify.
As well, his suspension must last no shorter than 25 games, which means if the Islanders make an early exit this year, Simon will serve the remainder of the suspension at the start of the 2007-08 season.
Simon’s salary is estimated at 1 million a season, which means he will forfeit some $80,213.90, which will be turned over to the player’s emergency assistance fund.
It was an expected outcome considering the ugliness of the incident and the need to be proactive in the face of a rising tide of violent incidents in the NHL as the season winds down.
The player on the other end of the Simon stick, Ryan Hollwegg, who fortunately wasn’t injured in the attack is satisfied with the punishment, and just wants to move on with his season.
Simon himself is reported to be disgusted with himself over his actions, suggesting that he was suffering a concussion himself at the time of the attack and perhaps wasn’t thinking straight when he swung his stick. Offering an apology to Hollweg, he said that his behavior was not indicative of the kind of hockey player he believes himself to be.
It’s a sentiment that he may believe, but one that may not hold much water with local justice officials in Nassau County. Prosecutors are reviewing video of the incident to determine if criminal charges should be laid.
Simon’s next appearance may move from the hockey court to the legal courts, where more than money and time on the ice may be at risk.
As Toby and Willie might say:
"Grand pappy told my pappy, back in my day son
a man had to answer for the wicked that he done"