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Proteau's Blog: Simon says attempt to murder

• Another night, another ugly on-ice assault for the NHL to be embarrassed by. This time, it was the Islanders' Chris Simon two-handing Ryan Hollweg in the face with his stick, leaving the Rangers' forward motionless on the ice for several minutes.

Being the rational person you are, I'm sure you're asking yourself, “Is this the latest in a long line of incidents where one of the NHL's so-called ‘peacemakers' temporarily lost his marbles and damaged the sport with egregious violence that would be punished by jail time in almost any other corner of society?”

Yup, it sure is. Can't wait to hear Don Cherry's delusional justification for it on Saturday.

• Meanwhile, the NHL Players' Association is coming apart faster than Britney Spears.

I believe Ted Saskin when he says Bob Goodenow used to monitor player emails; one prominent player agent, who isn't a Saskin supporter, told me exactly as much Tuesday.

However, I don't believe the practice ended when Goodenow was turfed. And though I'm uncomfortable with saying Saskin is directly responsible for this latest debacle before he has the chance to defend himself, I do expect him to receive character references from Dick Cheney, Henry Kissinger and Don King.

• Prior to Thursday's Canucks-Coyotes game in Phoenix, the arena held a real-estate seminar titled, “Foreclosures on Ice.” No word whether Mario Lemieux, Alan Cohen, Ted Leonsis or Craig Leipold were in attendance.


That Chris Simon on THAT is an instance where there is intent to injure, and deserves a serious suspension....It looked like Simon reverted back to his tee-ball days....oh and as neither a Rangers fan nor an Islanders fan, I can safely say that the "no goal" with about 20 seconds left WAS a know it was a goal when Lundqvist said "Some replays it looked like a goal, and some it didn't"...As far as I'm concerned if there is more than one angle that shows the puck fully crossing over the line...its a goal...I'm smelling a little bit of a conspiracy by the league to help the Rangers get into the playoffs...I'm sure it wouldn't hurt the headquarters if the three NYC area teams got into the playoffs. And if it included Montreal,Toronto Ottowa, with the most fun team to watch (Pittsburgh...and as a Devils fan I was loving every minute of the back and forth of last nights game), and also Buffalo...well I'd say that Bettman being happy is a little bit of an understatement. 8 teams with great roots in their areas and just knowing that pretty much every round might showcase an intense geographical rivalry....Just look out for more of those pro-Rangers calls....

- Joe

I don't think Don Cherry will protect Simon. Yes, he is old fashioned and loves agression in the game. But he will not side with someone who tried to intentionally injure someone. You have to remember that Grapes has been saying to introduce the no-touch icing to prevent injuries. So you have to know that he does care for the players and worries about their safety.

- Josh Lockhart

First, Hollweg's check on Simon was boarding and it should have been called before it got to that point last night. I have watched over 100 games this season and have seen far less serious checks called boarding than that flagrant one last night. Second, while I'm in no way support Simon's actions I understand his frustration of watching a coward like Hollweg fly around the ice like a pinball with no fear of having to deal with consequences. There is only so much a man can take especially one who was brought up in the "self policing" days of the NHL. Third, this is the third time the ref's blew it by not calling a penalty after a hit. Chris Neil, Cam Jannsen, and now Ryan Hollweg were all apparently guilty of something but never penalized by the refs who are apparently too concerned with any little minor stick infraction. Last night was the culmination of again not having true fighters in the league to make sure pint size tough guys like Hollweg, Barnaby, Avery, Ruutu, and Tucker don't get away with the garbage hits on star players.

- Mike M.

McSorley, Bertuzzi, Janssen, Simon... Who will be next? Whom among the elite players will have to die on the ice before the league puts a stop to this? I like a good one on one, face to face fight as much as the next guy but this is getting out of hand.

- craig

Its all Hollewg's fault, he should of had his head up. He must have been admiring his pass or shot or something. After all its all part of the game! Wake up NHL! No wonder Andy Griffith reruns get better ratings than NHL all star game.

- Mike Letina

Ok, I watched the replay of the hit over and over, this is not boarding. The stick swing by Simon was vicious, this is what has to go in this game and head shots. This cannot be tolerated either before after or during a hit by an opponent.

- T Lowes

I'm sensing favoritism in the bogs. I don't like the Rangers or Islanders, and I've had season tickets to games for over 35 years. There is never any reason given that can justify what Simon did. Was it boarding by Hollweg or not doesn't matter. Enough missed calls go on in every game. The only issue is Chris Simon controlling his temper. As Barry Melrose states, "He should be gone for the rest of the year, playoff's included". There is never any justification for putting a stick deliberately in someone's face. Now that is an act of a coward.

- John Nevius

Ryan Hollweg's hit was not a penalty he made contact in the rear of the shoulder did not leave his feet. Most analysts agree the hit was clean. Hollweg much like Avery by reputation has more than his fair share of penalty calls go against him. To justify Simons attempted decaputation on Hollweg as retaliation for the hit is idiotic.

- Rich

Re; Simon vs. Hollweg In reading one of the posted responses to your article, I must say that voicer Mike M. must have taken too many "Hits to the Head". To even suggest that the hit on Simon was an "ILLEGAL" boarding hit, is just nothing but laughable. To even state that the hit on Simon was the same as the "HITS" to Kaberle and Drury is nothing more than (to use your term "GARBAGE"). Then to state that smaller "PINT SIZE" players are running star players, this also makes not sense. Now Chris Simon is an "NHL STAR PLAYER". I guess that Orr, Brashear, Boogaard, Laraque, and the like should also be lumped into this "STAR CATAGORY" also. Have you noticed anything particular going on in the NHL since the lock-out? More and more player are turning into the boards when making plays. just look at games from just a few years ago, when player were face either up or down ice when trying to make a play along the boards, NOT turning into the boards and trying to draw a penalty. "GET A LIFE"

- Fred B.

This is just in response to the few feedbacks i read on this subject. 1st off- The hit given to Simon by Hollweg was a CLEAN check. If you think it was boarding, I suggest watching the clip of the hit again since Simon was posted on the boards and was only contacted on his left side CLEANLY and just couldn't take the hit. I do hope that when this goes under review with he board that they do not take into consideration the lack of injury there was for the action but look at the action itself as what it is. 2nd off- The waved off goal with 20 seconds left or so at the end of the game was waved off first by the referee and if you looked closely at the different angles, you can tell that the water bottle obstructed your view from the top angle, the left angle looked as if it was in but you can clearly see the shadow of the puck being in the air and thats when you have to go to the shot from behind the net. That angle shows that the puck is still on the red line by maybe 25% of the puck. The rules clearly state that if there is no clear evidence of the puck being in, then the goal in question cannot be considered one. There was more proof to the puck not being in anyway. The only angle that showed it being completely over was the left side of the net angle, but that showed shadow too, which makes you understand that its in the air and you need another angle to prove that it's fully over the line.

- Mike C.

Who is Ryan Holloweg? Who cares! It's a shame Chris Simon will miss the rest of the season for carving up somebody that should of been carved up long ago. time get someone Alexei Kovalev and make it count.

- Frank

There is no accountability Anywhere in this world anymore. It starts with our elected leaders and trickles down into all facets of our society. Holliweg boarded Simon and if Simon had been cut on the play it would be Holiweg being bashed in this blog instead of Bertuzzi. I think that its time to send the Commisioner of Hockey a pink slip. He doesnt DO anything about everything. He's useless. What hockey needs is a guy like Lemiuex running the sport and not some money grubbing ass who doesnt even consider hockey his favorite sport. Bettman came from Basketball and he obviously prefers it. Thats why he is killing hockey. He sucks.

- Smitty

In response to those talking to me, what is the definition of boarding. And i do not mean what is stated in the rule book word for word, I mean what have the refs been calling for the past few years. It is a hit from behind driving a player head and chest first into the boards. Did you not see the same check im referring to? The one where Simon was completely backwards to Hollweg and after the hit looked like he was knocked out? Thats as dangerous of a hit there can be, you'll all see when Hollweg runs someone again and he ends up breaking someones neck because the idiot Rangers fans cheer everytime he runs someone and than hides behind Colton Orr when someone calls his name.

- Mike M

Some of these replies are completely assinine. There is no justification for this! Who the hell cares if Hollweg's hit was a penalty or not? And it is completely irrelevant who the victim was. You don't go around clubbing people with your stick. Period! I'm a die hard Islanders fan, but I hope Simon is gone for the year. That's at least what he deserves.

- KB

Some of the reposnes on here, border on the insane. To suggest for any reason that Hollweg got what he deserved is idiotic at the least. Swinging your stick baseball style at another players head and neck with intent to decapitate equals NO MORE PLAYING THIS YEAR. Period. Playing next year should also be in jeopardy. I'm not a fan of either team, nor do I have the illusion that either player is a particularly good one. But this crap has to stop. Start with dissmissal from the league. No job, no money. Without a harsh reaction from the league, we will (eventually) hear them trying to spin the death of a player as "shocking, and totally out of character"..

- Dave

I feel sick to my stomach reading all of the responses from people who support what Simon did, you are all disgraces to humanity. If Simon's stick had connected 1 to 2 inches lower it could have split Hollwegs throat and crushed his larenx possibly killing him, of course the league would no longer have been involved in the punishment has Simon would be serving 20 to life for Murder in the first degree.

- Eric

The hit by Hollweg on Simon, was ruled by the Ref's and the league as a "CLEAN HIT". whether or not you or I agree with it, really doesn't matter. the NHL allows this type of situation to go on. THIS HAS TO BE STOPPED. Please explain to me where it states that because an athlete is being paid to play a game, (in any sport) that this player has the right to attack another player with a potential deadly weapon? I am glad to hear that the authorities in New York are looking into possibily bringing charges against Simon. Maybe if he gets arrested and tried for assault with a deadly weapon will this JUNK HOCKEY stop.

- Fred B.

Well put as always Adam. An incident like this does nothing good for hockey. The most beautiful sport in the world deserves to be showcased in a positive light not a negative one. By the way, as a girl, I can call hockey beautiful because it is.

- Daniele

Sean Avery said it best regarding Chris Simon's cowardly act: "Bleeping embarrassing." Simon ought to be ashamed of himself. Sorry, but if you're agitated by a player, grab him and fight. And if that player "turtles up" tell him that this is what's gonna happen every time he tries to instigate. Question for that yahoo Mike M., who called Ryan Hollweg a "coward." Who is the REAL coward? The 5-9, 210-pound Hollweg who plays hard and generally clean every night, and is willing to go head-to-head with anybody, including the 6-4, 235-pound Simon? OR The 6-4, 235-pound self-proclaimed tough guy Simon, who can't take a hit from somebody some 8 inches shorter and 25 pounds lighter and resorts to delivering a two-handed retaliatory chop to the face with his stick?

- Scott Esposito

"Decapitating"!?! Are you people serious!?! Hollweg got a little cut on his chin. All day I heard how its equivalent to swinging a bat or whatever at someone. Thats total BS and anyone who has even bothered to pick up a hockey stick in the past 5 years knows they are light as a feather! Hockey sticks weigh a mere few onces compared to a heavy solid piece of lumber that is a baseball bat! Get real people! Even if he made full contact with the guy's neck it would hardly be enough to "DECAPITATE" anyone. Talk about over the top statements. Basically as I see it, the refs turned in their whistles at the end of last season. They don't call anything anymore. It was a boarding call or it was a boarding as well as a dive. The refs make the call and there is no stick swinging incident. Its a real shame that the only time that the Mainstream media even talks about hockey for more than 5 minutes anymore is when it's to bash it as a out of date goonery.

- Smitty

Simon's hit was nothing more than a "love tap" ... Back in 70s this was a weekly event. Heck, Davey Forbes rammed his but end into Hank Boucha's eye socket. Wilfy Paiement split Polo's head open. The game is much safer now. Settle down Adam. It's the peaceniks like you that have turned the NHL into a figure skating competition.n Give Simon 30 games and move on.

- Smakky

I watched the Simon incident on the national news last night. Another black eye for the National Hockey League. I always liked Chris Simon for his tough, gritty style, but this incident is inexcusable. Why he didn't just drop his gloves and deck Hollweg? So much has been made of the younger players having no respect and using the stick too much. Simon is supposed to old school. I think he should be suspended for the rest of the season, maybe banned from hockey.

- Bret

This is an interesting topic, and most of the feedback doesn't suprise me. Most everyone wants to blame one player (Hollweg or Simon) for their actions. What is interesting about this topic is that no one, except Smitty, is directing the blame correctly (ie - toward the Commish). I don't know how many of you that have responded have children, but players, no matter what sport, have a attitudes not unlike children. That is not to say that athletes are more like children than everyone else, rather there is a higher percentage of children on the ice/court/field than off. So who, then, is the parent. Coaches are to some degree, but when you have former players in that role sometimes all you get is a big brother. The fans, well they represent the neighbors who gossip about what so-and-so's child has done (usually not productive unle ss directly brought to the parents' attention - more on that later). Ultimately, the parent is the Commissioner. How does he do this. Well, we have all either heard or said that "they need to be his/her parents and not his/her friends", and Smitty alluded to it when he brought up politics (while not wrong, my opinion has the blame more squarely on the parents shoulders). Bettman needs to stop trying to be freinds with certain players, or certain teams, or for that matter with certain fans. He needs to be more a critic of the NHL than a proponent of it. My solution? Any questionable hit regardless of whether it was penalized during the game gets a $25,000 fine and a minimum 5 game suspension, and any retaliation gets a $100,000 fine and minimum 41 game (playoffs included) suspension. If you want to win this battle, you have to make sure that your carrying the biggest stick. Make it impossible for teams to have players that only contribute to mayhem. Just to keep th e argument going, though, I would include Hollweg's hit as questionab le. If you watch this hit, while Simon does turn his back (a no-no) Hollweg does his best to force Simon's head into the glass without actually coming up high (his follow-through of the hit demonstrates this). While this would be hard to call a penalty during the game, these are the types of hits (as well as behind the play hits) that the league needs to review and punish. As far as what the neighbors (fans) should do. If you don't like how someone's kids (the players) behave, the don't let your kids play with theirs. If, on the other hand you enjoy the game the way it is, I offer some improvements: sharpened metal blades instead of hockey sticks, and the winner of the game gets to select one player from the losing side to decapitate at center ice. The Executioner? The #1 star of course.

- Tim

Was the Simon incident awful for the game? Of course! but this "another night, another ugly on-ice assault" I mean come on, take a look at the suspension numbers over the past few years they are down substantially. Proteau, you take this to a new low as you talk about these "assaults" like they're a nightly occurance grow up and let the league deal with these rare erruptions. Is violence ruining our game? NO, the media is ruining our game. I don't know who is more annoying, Proteau or Pierre MacGuire (sorry Pierre).

- Jim O'Donahue

As to Simon, I think that there has been a lot of hypocrisy going around the last few days. Avery punched Hill in the face hard enough to knock him down and that's just Avery being Avery in some people's minds. Hollweg comes at Simon from behind and drives him into the boards hard enough to make his neck snap back and drive him to his knees in a stupor. Isles are now saying he has "concussive symptoms". This is supposedly a good clean check. Simon uses his stick to retaliate and he's somehow a leper. He deserved the major and the match, and probably a short suspension. That's it! As to the no-goal goal, yes it was in and video judges shouldn't be bound by the call on the ice once its passed up to them. Having said that, bad calls are part of the game. They tend to work for you as much as against you. Maybe we'll get one going our way in the playoffs!!!

- Bill

Simon's hit was dirty and whatever punishment he gets, he deserves. Hollweg deserved a penalty on that play as well and the game could have had a completely different result, not to mention the canceled goal (it was close, but it looked in to me). There is definitely a lack of respect between the players these days and this is just a symptom of it. I guess that starts in Juniors, Peewees, etc.

- Geddy Lee


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