Simon not only problem

RANDY SPORTAK -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:47 AM ET

Chris Simon got what he deserved.

The New York Islanders tough guy will pay a steep price for his slash on Ryan Hollweg with a suspension of at least 25 games.

As the former Flame should.

This was a violent act by a multiple offender (this is his sixth suspension for on-ice brutality) and has no place in the game.

For that, he deserves to forego the rest of the season and possibly more.

Maybe, just maybe, this suspension will finally get it through to players the harm they do to each other, and the NHL, won't be tolerated.

At least we can have that hope, though the fact we're only three years removed from Todd Bertuzzi's disgraceful attack on Steve Moore leaves plenty of doubt.

Now, though, the powers that be must take into account what caused Simon to slash Hollweg and do something about it.

Let's take a peek at Hollweg's rap sheet. He's no angel.The 119 penalty minutes he's racked up this season for the Rangers proves it.

And when you delve a little deeper, you can see why players around the league have some sympathy for Simon.

It's because they've grown fed up with the antics of Hollweg and others like him.

This season alone, Hollweg has amassed a trio of boarding penalties and two charging minors. He's also twice been flagged for kneeing, once worthy of a major penalty.

Oh yeah, and he's collected three elbowing penalties, seven roughing minors and a dozen fighting majors.

Don't kid yourself, he's a player who has a reputation among his peers for running players late and hard.

Flames defenceman Rhett Warrener has had enough of seeing players of that ilk and is starting to demand the league curtail it.

"It's one thing to be a fiery guy, a hard worker and intense, one of those middleweight guys that crashes and bangs but it's another thing to take advantage of guys, and you see a lot of that now," Warrener said. "You see guys exposed and in vulnerable positions and they just eat that stuff up. Guys aren't protected at all by the league in that respect, so maybe they should worry about that stuff, too."

Hollweg's transgressions haven't gone unnoticed. Last season, he was given a three-game suspension for checking Philly's R.J. Umberger from behind.

And Hollweg's hardly alone. Guys like Sean Avery and Matt Cooke have few friends outside their dressing rooms.

Nashville's Jordin Tootoo -- who Calgary's Robyn Regehr chased down this past week and tried to pummel-- is another offender, called out for always being the second man into the corners.

Earlier this season, St. Louis goalie Manny Legace referred to Tootoo as a "donkey" after a game in which the Predators forward was twice called for charging, one of which came when he drilled Christian Backman as he touched the puck on an icing call.

Regehr feels the current instigator rules prevent players from policing those who bend the rules.

"It's a little harder for those guys to be kept in check because of the rules of the game but I think those will be changing and there'll be other ways to take care of it in the future," he said.

Calgary's Eric Godard expressed a similar opinion.

"They have free reign to do whatever. They're running guys with no consequences," Godard said. "There's no respect, they're running around trying to hurt guys and put them out of the game. It's a physical game, guys are gonna get hit and hurt, but, at some point, something has to happen. It's not gonna come from the league, so guys have to look out for themselves."

Regehr and Godard don't want to self-police in a manner that will bring about more black eyes to the game but until the NHL cracks down on late checks -- such as Cam Janssen's on Tomas Kaberle recently -- and other cheap shots, we'll likely see more and more ugly incidents.

"When I first came into the league, something like this didn't happen because the rules were a little different," said Darren McCarty. "It's not the tough guys you have to worry about because they police themselves, it's the guys in the middle that play that pesky role and aren't held accountable.

"You can't condone what happened, there's no exception for what Chris did but things have happened and you can have an argument for why that is."


Videos

Photos