Gettin' Ugly Out There
Colin Campbell's suddenly a busy, busy man.
With the hockey industry still buzzing about an apparently lenient three-game suspension handed out to New Jersey enforcer Cam Janssen last week for bushwhacking Tomas Kaberle of the Maple Leafs seven days ago, Campbell will be calling another goon on the carpet today.
You know, one of those irreplaceable dudes who police the league and keep the sticks down.
The players without whom there would be anarchy.
You have to believe that either today or tomorrow Campbell will be handing the longest suspension of the season to Chris Simon of the Islanders after his nasty piece of stickwork on New York Ranger forward Ryan Hollweg.
The incident occurred in the third period with the game tied 1-1 on Long Island. Hollweg, one of your garden variety agitator types, hit Simon hard into the side boards, with the Islander tough guy apparently hitting his face on the glass and falling to the ice.
The visibly angry Simon then got up and, rather than challenging his opponent to a fight as per "The Code," took a vicious two-handed slash at the Ranger forward's head.
Simon's stick seemed to catch Hollweg flush on the chin, sending him sprawling to the ice face down.
Head shot using a stick. A daily double.
While somebody somewhere will undoubtedly twist this incident into a argument as to why the instigator penalty should be abolished, Simon justifiably received a match penalty and will definitely be suspended.
But for how long?
Simon has been suspended on at least three other occasions. In 1997 he was banned for three games for uttering a racial epithet to Mike Grier, and in the winter of 2004 he was suspended twice, once for cross-checking and once for kneeing.
So we're talking multiple offender, here, a legitimately tough player who has been making room for himself for years by wielding his stick in menacing ways.
The longest suspension handed down by Campbell this season was nine games to Nashville's Scott Nichol for sucker-punching Jaroslav Spacek of Buffalo.
Simon should be looking at 10 games, minimum, although, remarkably, Hollweg wasn't seriously hurt on the play.
Twenty games would be the correct suspension, but with the moment-to-moment NHL, you just never know.
Simon could even get the Chris Neil free pass and I wouldn't bat an eye. NHL suspensions are just so unpredictable.
The Rangers, by the way, scored the winning goal on Simon's match penalty, helping the Islanders lose a critical game as they fight for a playoff spot.
Chalk up another one for the policemen.