Simon: Suspension is 'unfair'

SCOTT MORRISON

, Last Updated: 8:58 AM ET

As we suggested the other day, all that was left was for Chris Simon to talk, to allow us to fully comprehend his contrition, to hear how much he required and desired counselling, to see how he felt about his 30-game suspension for stomping on the foot of Pittsburgh Penguins pest Jarkko Ruutu a week ago tonight.

And so he did speak, though as of yesterday apparently only to one reporter, and what he said was, in part, understandable, intriguing and somewhat incomplete.

"What I did was wrong," Simon told Roy MacGregor of The Globe and Mail.

Of the 30-game suspension, Simon said: "I don't think it was fair. I'm not a complainer. I've never complained before. I took my suspensions and moved on. But I don't think this one was fair.

"I wasn't trying to injure him. I tripped him and I was telling him to (expletive), and I did step on his foot. I pushed down on his skate, I don't deny that, but I wasn't trying to hurt him. I don't think a player has ever missed a game from one of my suspensions.

"I look at other guys who have been repeat offenders. One guy used his skate a second time and he got only five games. What I did was wrong, but this is unfair."

Simon is entitled to his opinion, especially when it is costing him close to $300,000 US in lost salary and inflicting further damage on an already tarnished reputation.

Only he truly knows what was going through his mind at that moment, of what his actual intent might have been.

But he also doesn't sound like a guy who entirely gets it.

In his mind, it seems what he did was not a big deal. He was merely fulfilling his role, as he later mentioned, of dealing with a pest.

"That's not an excuse for stepping on his foot," he said, "but it's being described as something it's not. It's letting him know I'm there. It's like a shot in the arm."

Simon seemingly does not understand why Colin Campbell and the NHL felt they had to raise the bar from his previous suspension (25 games), regardless of whether it was as reckless as some believe, or however Simon has rationalized it in his mind. As Campbell mentioned, Simon is a repeat offender, who apparently showed contrition in his hearing, but offered no indication it wouldn't happen again.

This is clearly one time when the act, regardless of the intent, seemed to warrant the punishment. The reputation earned it.

Simon said he might appeal as a point of principle, that he figured 10 games was closer to an appropriate number.

What Simon hasn't explained, however, is how if stepping on the foot has been so overstated, then why did he deem it to be inexcusable, why did his own team call it reckless and potentially dangerous, why have other players expressed outrage and, perhaps most significant, why did both he and the team agree Simon needed to take a leave to seek assistance?

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