SUN Hockey Pool

Sid Vicious

ERIC FRANCIS -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:37 AM ET

Let's see if we've got this straight: An 18-year-old hotshot violently crashes the net, seriously jeopardizing the health of Flames netminder Miikka Kiprusoff and not one teammate decides to do anything about it.

Not a terse word, not a discouraging shove, not a warranted beating.

Why would this be allowed to happen?

Is it because the offender was NHL golden boy Sidney Crosby.

Is it because the Calgary Flames aren't tough enough? Or is it because the Flames aren't smart enough to protect their No. 1 asset?

No player in pro hockey should be allowed to run a netminder without consequence, especially against the Flames whose playoff fortunes rest with the health of Kiprusoff.

So where was Robyn Regehr, Rhett Warrener or Jarome Iginla?

Better yet, where was Chris Simon?

Then again, where has Simon been all year?

Acquired last year to add physical presence and toughness to the Flames, the 6-ft. 3-in., 235-lb. veteran has apparently fallen into the same rut so many misguided fighters do -- they start to believe they're scorers.

Last season, he had 18 fighting majors and 250 penalty minutes between the Rangers and Flames. This campaign, he hasn't dropped the gloves once, accruing just 20 penalty minutes and two goals.

Unacceptable, especially for $1.2 million.

So, while Simon and everyone else on the Flames roster looked the other way at one of the worst transgressions an opponent could be guilty of, Crosby finished his two minutes for blatant goaltender interference and proceeds to tie the game 1-1 less than a minute later.

Not only did he get off scot-free for endangering the Flames goalie (read: season), he got the lowly Penguins back into the game.

That never would have happened with Krzysztof Oliwa or Steve Montador around, begging questions as to whether the Flames' "team toughness" is enough of a deterrent for opponents.

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AROUND THE HORN: If the San Jose Sharks have truly turned their season around by snapping their 10-game losing skid, it will have more to do with the groin injury to Evgeni Nabokov than it does the trade for Joe Thornton. Nabokov demonstrated in Calgary what he's proven throughout the season -- he's not worthy of starting status in the NHL ... Netting around NHL hockey rinks: How did we go without it? Discuss ... Can Harry Neale explain exactly what 'bodily contact' is?

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PARTING GIFTS: An example of just how bad things went for Canada's top female downhiller, Emily Brydon, at Lake Louise this weekend: While explaining how every skier goes through rough patches, she asked reporters, "Did (Renate) Goetschl have a good couple days? No." It was then reporters watching the race behind her pointed out Goetschl had skidded violently into the course-side netting as Brydon spoke. "Oh my God. That just makes my day worse. That's the sort of bad karma I'm dealing with." ... While not pleased at all with the Ducks' decision to send him and fellow rookie Corey Perry to Portland, Me., for salary cap reasons, as they were told, Ryan Getzlaf has responded well. The former Hitmen captain has three goals and nine assists in six games, while Perry has five goals and five assists. Getzlaf's former Hitmen linemate, Andrew Ladd, has scored four times in seven outings with Carolina after opening the season in Lowell.


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