Monday, December 17, 2007

Please, someone tell me there is a difference.

It seems everyday there is a new "incident" in the NHL to talk about. Instead of a behind the back Sidney Crosby pass, or a Sam Ganger dangling shootout goal, it seems there are new obsceneties to talk about. Instead of players like Sidney Crosby, Alexander Ovechkin or Vincent Lecavalier making headlines for great goals or assists, players like Steve Downie, Mattias Ohlund and Chris Simon litter the headlines.
The most recent incident is Chris Simon's "stomp" on Jarko Ruutu. Without a doubt this is one of the worst things I've ever seen happen on a sheet of hockey ice. Chris Simon's intent was obviously to hurt Ruutu, and to hurt him badly. Simon should be removed from the game of hockey and be given a lifetime ban from any connection to hockey and the NHL. He should be not only permanently suspended as a player, but he should also be banned from working as a figure in the media, or any position with the NHL in a management role. This may sound harsh, and maybe even frivelous, but what Chris Simon has done, (and done in previous years) has tainted the image of the NHL so severely that every action should be taken to keep him away from the game.
That said, I'd like to revisit another incident that occured this year in the NHL and ask why it is any different. When Mattias Ohlund "slashed" Mikko Koivu this year, (I put "slash" in parenthesis because that is a very modest way of saying "tried to break his leg") there was obvious intent to hurt. I would even go as far to say that his intent was of equal obviousness to the Chris Simon stomp. Why Ohlund received only a 4 game suspension is completely beyond my comprehension and a huge blunder of the NHL (Colin Campbell).
Burnsy, why are you so intent on coming down hard on NHL players?
Because NHL players are the role models and leaders of Canadian culture. They shape and influence the future of Canadian hockey and society in general. Every little boy in Canada who watches hockey worships the NHL's best and brightest, and unfortunately will see the actions of Simon, Downie and Ohlund far more than he'll see the actions of Crosby, Lecavalier and Ovechkin. This shapes the way they will play and what they will feel is acceptable to do on a sheet of ice.
It's for this reason ever player like Simon and Ohlund should never play in the NHL.
Now, watch these videos, and try and tell me there's any difference in intent.

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