Friday, March 09, 2007

Good news

Just in: the NHL suspended Chris Simon indefinitely for clotheslining Ryan Hollweg in last night's Islander/Ranger game.

There's no place in the league for something like this, and I hope he's done for the year. The whole point of "policing yourself" breaks down if you don't have the maturity to handle it. And I know that many people see something like this as the logical extension of dropping the gloves, but I disagree. The truth is, dropping the gloves offers the opponent the chance to fight back. He may even win. In other words, it's the difference between a gentleman's duel and a mugging. I rather like that hockey permits the duel, and strictly punishes the mugging.

In fact, I'll go further and theorize that the duel helps prevent the mugging by putting accountability into the idea of protecting yourself and a teammates with a fight. You can't just do that all the time, because you will hurt your team, and you will become a target for others. It keeps things under control. Believe it or not, hockey isn't just a fight with skating, no matter what you saw in Slap Shot.

Bottom line is, if Simon thought that Hollweg was giving him a cheap shot, he can duke it out. Losing a fight is preferable to losing the respect of every player in the league and shaming your team by being a cretin. Besides, it's not like Simon's never gone a round in his career - look at the PIM (Penalties, in Minutes) for his career record. Nor has he ever reached 50 points in a season - the true mark of a grinder/enforcer. So drop the gloves and don't be an unprintable word in a family blog.

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