illegal stick to the throat

i\’d like to get opinions on this by the simpleprop hockey wonks. (i encourage you to watch the video if you haven\’t seen it already.)

my take, if you\’re interested: sports, particularly football and hockey, can be violent at times. delmon young notwithstanding, hockey is the only one where players carry potential weapons throughout the entire game. unfortunately, incidents like this (and the mcsorley and bertuzzi attacks that preceded them) are going to get many people into a tizzy about violence in sports, specifically hockey, and how hockey will never gain mass appeal if these acts continue.

this is a crap argument.

think about all of the hockey games that occur each season– all of which involve emotion, aggressive players, and those aforementioned wooden sticks. the fact that we only see serious incidents like this every three years or so is almost miraculous, given all of the opportunities that exist. so many more serious injuries occur in sports simply by virtue of playing the game than by malfeasance; people who get upset over this are myopic opportunists who are bucking for exposure. \”oooohhh, violence exists in sports.\” wow. really? great. what do you think would happen in NFL games if linebackers carried hockey sticks?

i\’m not endorsing the hit. it was ugly, could have even been tragic if it had landed lower. what i\’m sick of is the bluster that always follows stuff like this– typically out of bristol– about sports, culture, and society. it may generate millions of dollars, but it\’s just a game. the fact that we make it out to be more than that, elevate it to so much greater importance than it should be, is our problem. not chris simon\’s.







6 responses to “illegal stick to the throat”

  1. alex Avatar

    Update: Simon’s been suspended for the rest of the season plus the playoffs. So 20-some games minimum. I think they said the maximum possible could be 43. Definitely the right call there.
    As for the rest… I’m cynical about sports coverage these days. Scandal sells. Do you really think the first Duke lacrosse game would have been on tv this year without the scandal? Plus ESPN needs to sell itself first and foremost. They don’t show hockey games, ergo the only hockey they show is shootouts and fights/hits. It’s not the way it should be for sports *news*, but since when has any news truly been news? The 80s?

  2. monkey Avatar

    I agree with alex about the “scandal sells”: taped the Wings-Bruins game yesterday, and the production crew felt the need to show the Simon hit for the *third* time (not counting intermission reports) at a random spot in the second period, forcing the announcers to talk about it, and therefore missing hockey analysis from a darn good crew. Why? Gore (not Al), violence, and controversy increase “interest”. Well, it’s the gawker kind, not the fan kind. The game sells itself, when properly presented (think CBC).
    As to the punishment, I think it comes out to 25 > (remaining regular season) + (maximum possible playoffs). I think it should have been more. Yes it was a gut reaction (not pre-meditated á la Bertuzzi) but it can’t be tolerated to any extent.
    Beyond that? Stuff happens. There are loons and goons in every sport and every walk of life. Good for Simon and his co-workers that he wasn’t in a Post Office and didn’t have a firearm. If Steve from the Cheez-Wiz packaging plant in Jersey uses a broom to beat the crap out of the guy next to him, it doesn’t make national news (different if there’s a gun involved — why are they still permitted?). Also like alex, I’d like to blame ESPN.

  3. alex Avatar

    I don’t think it’s a fair argument to compare violence in sport to violence in most other professions. Hockey (and Football) players’ jobs involve an element of intent to hit (if not specifically to injure), and when that line is crossed it’s not the same as if I throw a chair at a co-worker, because my job doesn’t entail that sort of violence at its core. Also, by that logic it should be less of a scandal when these things happen because there’s simply not as far to go to cross that line. I think Bertuzzi’s suspension should have been longer for being pre-meditated, and that Simon’s could be longer and I wouldn’t argue, but that it’s fine at this length.

  4. monkey Avatar

    Yeah – violent sports involve more immediate personal physical violence than desk jobs, but the distance to snapping *shouldn’t* be any different. There’s a fundamental difference between a crushing hipcheck on the puck carrier and an intentional cross-check to the face.
    And the next time you do throw a chair at a co-worker, make sure it’s on video ‘cuz I’d love to see that…

  5. alex Avatar

    By the by… this sort of hockey talk always makes me think of this.

  6. wadE Avatar

    But don’t you think that at some level Professional Hockey welcomes the exposure? At least people are talking about hockey. No such thing as bad press?
    Yes, it was a vicious hit, yes, it was wrong. Yes the suspension is about right for such a hit.
    And I agree that anyone who talks about hockey not going mainstream b/c of the violence is full of crap.
    The violence will always bring in a certain type of fan, and will always keep away a certain type of fan. An act like this isn’t going to make or break hockey, and in my opinion actually helps. Not that it would be good for something like this to happen more than once every three years, but at least hockey is in the news…and it was good to see Melrose on SportCenter (man he looks like crap, he’s starting to look like a greasy mountain man).

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