SUN Hockey Pool

Simon hit a black eye for NHL

MIKE ZEISBERGER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 12:17 PM ET

Thanks to Chris Simon, the NHL's sagging image south of the border has taken yet another severe blow.

And American-born John Pohl knows it.

From the moment the New York Rangers' Simon took a Paul Bunyan-like swing with his stick at the face of the New York Rangers' Ryan Hollweg Thursday night, the U.S. airwaves were saturated with discussions and replays of the incident.

Everyone was talking Chris Simon. And for all the wrong reasons.

"In the States, we need positive publicity for the sport," said Pohl, a native of Red Wing, Minn. "Kids shouldn't have to watch something like that on TV. What kind of lesson is that?"

Pohl can not understand how opposing players can exhibit such a lack of respect for each other when they belong to the same union.

"As players we need to look out for each other. For the growth of the league we need to work with each other.We need superstars in our league and we can't have guys taking runs at the Crosbys and Ovechkins," Pohl said.

That being the case, what possible solution is there?

"To be honest, the stiffer penalties would deter it from happening again," Pohl said.

"If Cam Janssen were to receive 15 games for hitting an all-star like Tomas Kaberle 10 seconds late, this stuff wouldn't happen."

Defenceman Bryan McCabe, who lives on Long Island during the off- season, understands the public relations hit the league has absorbed in the U.S.

"We don't get any highlights shown down there. And when we do, it's bad," McCabe said.

Asked what kind of suspension Simon should be slapped with, Leafs pugilist Wade Belak figured "between 10 and 15 games."

"(The league) doesn't want to admit it but I think it does matter who the (victim)is," Belak said. "I think Hollweg is a fourth liner. If it was (Jaromir) Jagr that was hit, I'm sure it would be more."


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