This MYFO feature celebrates the scarred, swollen-knuckled bottom feeders of the NHL. Except when it excoriates them. There is a thin line between “enforcer” and “thug.” Who crossed it this week?
It was not a tough choice to select the inaugural Goon of the Week, Chris Simon. If he can stay in the league, we’re sure he’ll win many more. While we hope to eventually select some winners from the Enforcer category (Gary Roberts was the nominee this week for his beatdown of Ben Eager), Simon’s thuggery left us with no choice.
In a game against the Penguins on Saturday, Pens pest Jarkko Ruutu was headed for the bench and a routine line change. That’s when Simon put on his award-winning performance:
Simon was scheduled to meet today with NHL executioner Colin Campbell. Anticipating that Simon might have earned himself a little vacation, the Islanders placed him on leave.
Simon’s teammates were, incredibly, supportive. Bill Guerin had this to say:
“Chris is a good guy, he’s a great teammate, he’s a good friend who did something wrong. He just needs a little time and a little support from his family and friends and his teammates.”
Yeah, that Chris. Whattaguy. Everyone makes mistakes, right? I mean, who hasn’t been suspended for “accidentally” using a racial slur? Or cross-checking someone in the throat? Or for deliberately kneeing? Or cross-checking (again)? Or elbowing? Or attempting to murder a guy who made you look bad with a big hit:
That one earned Simon 25 games. Anything less than 20 for the assault on Ruutu would be a traveshamockery (then again, I am talking about the NHL). I imagine Guerin would have been just as understanding and forgiving if, say, Georges Laraque had been the offender and an Islander the victim.
Oh, and Islanders? This doesn’t seem like the sort of thing that a couple of calls to the Employee Assistance Program is going to fix. Simon isn’t going to suddenly become a tough-but-clean enforcer with no anger or substance abuse issues with a couple of weeks of “alone time.” Sorry. After seven suspensions, you can officially be called a dirty player.
Congratulations once again to Chris Simon, the MYFO Goon of the Week.