I tell you something, Chris Simon has always been a good, tough menace on the ice. He’s exactly the type of player that you want to have on a playoff team that will get under the skin of the other team as well as have enough skill to find the back of the net occasionally. Chris Simon was never a cementhead out on the ice solely looking to pick fights and rack up PIMs.
The Chris Simon that we saw in the NHL in the late 90s was about as similar to guys like Darren McCarty, the exception being that McCarty got to show his wares in the playoffs year in and year out whereas Simon was more on a hit-or-miss team for the playoffs dating back to his first seasons with the Nordiques and then when he was a Washington Capital and New York Ranger. Simon was an important agitating cog with the Colorado Avalanche in their 1996 Stanley Cup season. He scored 34 points in the regular season and racked up 250 PIMs. You’ll take those PIMs when the guy gets you nearly 20 goals in the season while playing on the third and fourth lines.
Who am I kidding? This is a guy who took it very much to heart hearing players lob racial slurs his way on the ice (Simon is part Ojibwa Indian) and then, reportedly, called Mike Grier a “nigger” while in a scrap on the ice in 1997 – something for which Simon served a three-game suspension for.
He’s gotten tagged for suspensions before and had his 25-game suspension for clubbing the Rangers Ryan Hollweg in the head end early this season. And now he’s gotten nailed for 30 games for stomping on the foot of noted scumbag/agitator/flopper from Pittsburgh, Jarkko Ruutu.
Make note, that Ruutu did flop on the ice as if Simon’s stomp had done big damage but Ruutu missed zero time on the ice. Modern medicine I tell ya.
For Simon, however, this has to be the end of the road. Yes, he’ll play again this year and yes it’ll be a big deal when he does and people will cast an eye towards the Islanders to see if Simon pops off again. Make no mistake, other teams will go after Simon hoping that he’ll snap off once more and do something stupid to hurt his team in that game. Any penalty, a minor, double-minor, major….whatever it is, that hurts the Islanders and helps the opposing team. Everyone knows that in hockey if there’s a hothead on the other team, you bother the hell out of him til he does something foolish. It’s this role that Simon has been fulfilling now at the end of his career. Sure, he does his own fair share of agitating but he hurts the team more than anything now and the Isles should’ve known this already.
Instead, the Isles opted to re-sign Simon in the off-season to a new contract….all while he was still serving his 25-game suspension for his assault on Ryan Hollweg. If only all of our jobs could be rewarded like that.
“Tompkins! You set your desk on fire, beat up Johnson in the cafeteria and lost our biggest client?! Guess what! We’re keeping you on for another year! Now go put out your desk.”
Insanity – but we know the sports world is different than real life and we accept that as fans. NHL GMs, especially former goalies named Garth Snow, should’ve known better that what Simon brings to the ice isn’t worth what he can take off of it and now Simon has again villanized himself and the game with the same reckless abandon he displays we’ve seen out of him year after year.
What Chris Simon should do with his NHL-imposed vacation is to think long and hard about what his career has become and whether its worth it or not to keep lacing them up. Your name is the only thing you have left in the world once the career is over and the millions stop rolling in and for Chris Simon he has to wonder if its worth it to him to keep endangering his name because at this rate his name will be worse than “Mud.”