The NHL's double standard

Been a while since I updated this, but that's what happens when the flu combined with NCAA basketball championship week just flat wears you out.

So, let's see if I get this straight. When Chris Simon was with the New York Islanders earlier this season, he received a record 30-game suspension by the NHL for using his skate to stomp on the leg of noted Pittsburgh Penguins' agitator Jarko Ruutu.

Chris Pronger of the Anaheim Ducks uses his skate to stomp on the leg of the Vancouver Canucks' Ryan Kesler earlier this week - and gets only an eight-game ban.

Logic, please? Simon, now with the Minnesota Wild, is still looking for some.

"I watched the tape and I think the tape's self-explanatory," Simon told The Associated Press. "It shows what he did."

Now some can look at Simon's and Pronger's careers, and try to justify why one received a suspension nearly four times as long for the same offense. Heading into play Saturday, Simon has 305 points - and 1,817 penalty minutes in 777 career games. He's been suspended eight times in during a 15-year career, including 25 games last season for a baseball bat-like swing in the mouth of the New York Rangers' Ryan Hollweg.

But Pronger hasn't been an angel during his 14 NHL seasons either, now also having received eight suspensions with two coming during last season's playoffs. During his 939-game career, Pronger has 131 goals, 427 assists - and 1,367 penalty minutes.

Pronger hasn't had to sit out more than four games prior to this ban, which ends on the final day of the regular season.

“Looking at other precedents and other situations that have happened, certainly as a league we don’t condone these types of incidents and obviously want to put these behind us and talk about the important parts of the game,” said Pronger, who's missed a total of 20 games due to suspensions. “I didn’t really plead my case all that much.

“There probably wasn’t too much to say, merely just to replay the incident to them and understand the league doesn’t condone instances like this. I expressed my sincere apologies and they did what they needed to do and I’d have to live with it.”

That doesn't seem to sit well with Simon - and he may have a point.

"It's more disappointing that I can get the amount of games that I get ... and other players can hurt players," Simon said one day before Pronger's ban was issued.

Here's some reasons why Pronger wasn't suspended until the start of the 2008-09 season: He's a recognizable name on a team that will be trying to defend its Stanley Cup championship ... He's a Hart and Norris Trophy winner.

Pronger is white, unlike Simon, who is a member of the First Nations and had received counseling for alcohol problems while playing junior hockey.

Someone needs to ask Gary Bettman and NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell if race was a factor in this decision. Because it sure appears to have been.


1. Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils: Brodeur will eventually go down in NHL history as the greatest goaltender ever. The active wins leader recorded his 40th victory for the seventh time in his Hall of Fame career, leading the Devils to a 4-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche.

2. Marian Gaborik, Minnesota Wild: Gaborik scored his 200th career goal as Minnesota snapped a five-game losing streak and moved back atop the Northwest Division with a 2-0 win over the Los Angeles Kings.

3. Jaroslav Halak, Montreal Canadiens: With rookie Carey Price given the night off, Halak stopped 30 shots in a 3-0 win over the Islanders. Halak's third career shutout and first since April 3 moved Montreal within one point of New Jersey for the Eastern Conference lead.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The delay in this discipline shown by Gary Bettman and Colin Campbell is just one more example of the failure of their leadership and not doing what is best of the NHL and its fans.