Saturday, March 17, 2007

Bumps, Bruises and a Whole Lot More

While I'm all for checks and fights in hockey -- although there are exceptions, such as the planned "fights" in Orlando-Jax games (who fights :12 into the first after the first whistle?) -- there are certain things that are just plain vicious in hockey. Bertuzzi's hit on Moore comes to mind. But I don't think that Simon's 1.000 batting average was really all that bad. Yes he did swing his stick at Hollweg's throat. Yes, that is a bad idea and he should get penalized for it. But was that any worse than some of the late hits that have gone on around the league this year? Hits that are deliberately bad, aimed to at least take the player out of the game, if not more time. There maybe more of a backstory to this incident, we just don't know it. Maybe this comes from other late hits, and finally Simon snapped and lashed out at him. Maybe there was some kind of exchange of words between them on Hollweg's hit and Simon snapped and swung at his throat. Hollweg isn't exactly in the running for the Lady Byng trophy this season (or any season), so I think there could have been some sort of rational -- at least in Chris Simon's head -- that justified getting pissed and pretending to be a baseball player. I would have liked to see his suspension shortened, 25 games is excessive for this incident. Bertuzzi didn't lose 25 games for a premeditated hit (yeah, yeah he lost the lockout year but if the NHL really wanted to punish him with the year suspension they could have ruled that the 2004-5 season didn't count as his year and so he couldn't play in 2005-6), why should Simon lose at least 25 games for a hit that was pretty clearly at the very least a reactionary event?

As far as legal action, I'm hoping that the DA's office in New York doesn't pursue this case. Why should they? Yes it was a vicious incident, but so are fights in hockey and no one is ever brought before a jury on charges of aggravated assault (yay for criminal justice classes -- I actually learned something in a class (= ) because they gave someone a black eye or stiches in a hockey fight. Hollweg did not suffer a career-ending injury. He didn't even miss any games. What is the purpose of going after a hockey player for something that, in all honestly, he is paid to do (although not the hitting-throat-with-stick part)?

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