Tag: Chris Simon

Eric Lindros

20 years ago, Eric Lindros got booed out of Quebec City


20 years ago, Eric Lindros had to face his harshest critics. No, not fans in Philadelphia or New York City but the rabid collective in Quebec City.

It was on October 13, 1992 that Lindros and the Flyers faced off with the team they swung one of the biggest trades in NHL history with in the Quebec Nordiques.

At the time, Lindros was the biggest rookie sensation the NHL had seen since Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux. If you weren’t around then, think of how crazed the league was when Sidney Crosby arrived and you have an idea how huge Lindros was.

Problem was, he didn’t want to play for the Nordiques and forced a trade out of town. After Nordiques owner Marcel Aubut got confused about who he was trading Lindros to (he had deals done with both the Rangers and Flyers) it was Philly where he ended up.

Philly traded Peter Forsberg, Kerry Huffman, Steve Duchesne, Mike Ricci, Ron Hextall, a 1993 first-round pick that became Jocelyn Thibault, $15 million, and future considerations (Chris Simon and a 1994 first-round pick) for Lindros — a blockbuster deal that would stun the league.

After all that drama, it was on this night 20 years ago that Lindros had to face the music in Quebec City at the Colisée as he was serenaded with boos and taunted for “crying his way out of town” with oversized pacifiers and all.

Nordiques fans got the last laugh that night as the home team won 6-3 but not before seeing Lindros score two goals in defeat.

Wayne Simmonds to meet with NHL over using homophobic slur

Wayne Simmonds

Things are getting a bit worse for Philadelphia’s Wayne Simmonds. Simmonds’ alleged use of a homophobic slur against Rangers forward Sean Avery caught the attention of the hockey world last night. After what Simmonds had to deal with London, Ontario over the weekend in seeing a disgusting racist display made at his expense, seeing the tables turned like this makes the entire situation more difficult to handle.

Simmonds will be meeting with the NHL to discuss the on-ice incident involving Avery. While many fans are thinking that Brendan Shanahan and his hot hand at dealing out suspensions could see Simmonds taken out of action for a period of time for the utterance, this situation doesn’t fall under Shanahan’s “player safety” disciplinary role. Instead, Simmonds will speak with Colin Campbell about the situation.

With a suspension seemingly unlikely, Simmonds would likely face a $2,500 fine for the slur. $2,500 is the maximum fine that can be assessed under the current CBA. We’ve seen the NBA put the hammer down in situations like this, fining superstar Kobe Bryant $100,000 for using a similar slur against an official during a game.

Making things all the more interesting, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) is getting in contact with the Philadelphia Flyers about what Simmonds had to say. GLAAD released this statement on the situation today.

“Hate speech and anti-gay slurs have no place on the ice rink,” said GLAAD Acting President Mike Thompson. “The word that Simmonds used is the same word that is hurled at LGBT youth on the playground and in our schools, creating a climate of intolerance and hostility. He should not only apologize for this anti-gay outburst, but the Philadelphia Flyers and the NHL have a responsibility to take action and educate their fans about why this word is unacceptable.”

While these sorts of things are likely said often between players on the ice to get under each other’s skin, it doesn’t make it right and getting busted using such language makes everyone look horrible. Even worse yet, it’s nothing new for Avery to hear on the ice from opponents as he’s said before that he’s heard it from players looking to get under his skin.

Avery said such slurs remain in wide use in hockey, too. He suspects they may be used against him even more now that he is speaking out on behalf of same-sex marriage.

“People have been calling me names for 10 years just because I like to wear nice suits,” he said. “It’s going to take a lot to get me upset or to get under my skin. I’m O.K.”

Using this kind of language against opponents, be it homophobic slurs or racially-charged slurs, isn’t new and guys have had action taken against them in the past for doing so. Chris Simon was suspended for three games back in 1997 for using a racial slur against Mike Grier.

With as many cameras and as much on-ice audio as we’ve got access to these days, these kinds of situations aren’t likely to go away, but the league has to be smart about how it’s viewed by those who might be warming up to the game. As Greg Wyshynski of Puck Daddy said today in his great take on this situation:

Forget the impact on fans or Sean Avery or the NHL’s image. When you get bananas thrown at black players or any player gets caught using a gay slur on camera, the essential question is whether that behavior is preventing someone from trying out for a team or skating locally; about whether than behavior is discouraging someone from embracing the game.

This kind of backwards and neanderthal speech, even if used in some horrible form of taunting or pestering an opponent, is the sort of thing that no one should be able to just brush off as “boys being boys.” It’s not likely that things will change, but perhaps now players are going to be more mindful about their methodology for getting another player’s goat and perhaps get a bit of understanding for being a human in the process.

Getting in a guy’s head doesn’t mean you have to go into those deep, dark places for insults. Like a comedian might get by on swearing to get a laugh, there are guys like Bill Cosby that succeeded without ever having to curse or use other foul language. Aggravating an opponent into taking a dumb penalty is an art form and one that doesn’t necessarily need such shameful language.

A recent history of racial incidents in the NHL

Wayne Simmonds

Wayne Simmonds showed a lot of class and character by taking the high road in discussing last night’s awful incident in which an Ontario fan threw a banana at him. While his private thoughts must be at least a bit different from his diplomatic public comments, here’s hoping that he wasn’t hurt too deeply by a bad apple (or a few bad apples) who did such a lousy thing to him in his old stomping grounds.

Sadly enough, you probably have to have thick skin to fight your way to the NHL as a black hockey player. It seems like these terrible gestures are pretty rare – at least at the sport’s highest level – but these moments still bruise the sport’s reputation.

While this isn’t meant to be a complete list, here are some of the more notable moments and interesting stories revolving around the topic of racism in hockey from the last 10 years or so. (Note: this list focuses mainly on the NHL, so feel free to discuss issues at the junior, college and minor league levels in the comments.)

John Vanbiesbrouck and Trevor Daley: The “Bieser” might be remembered for his fantastic, rubber rat-laden run to the 1996 Stanley Cup finals with the Florida Panthers, but others will allow a far less pleasant memory linger. Vanbiesbrouck resigned from his position as the general manager of the OHL’s Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds after using a racial epithet in regard while discussing current Dallas Stars defenseman Trevor Daley in 2003. Vanbiesbrouck apologized profusely for his ugly comment, but the damage was already done.

Kevin Weekes, Wayne Simmonds and Peter Worrell are among the (hopefully small list of) black players who’ve had bananas thrown at them. Worrell dealt with quite a few other high-profile incidents of racist behavior, including when Craig Berube received a one-game suspension for calling him a “monkey.” As PHT discussed in the post about the Simmonds situation, Georges Laraque also accused Sean Avery of uttering the same racial remark in 2005.

Ted Nolan’s claims of prejudice: Racism isn’t always just a “black or white” issue in hockey. Former Buffalo Sabres coach Ted Nolan is of First Nation heritage, which Nolan claimed was a roadblock as he attempted to land another coaching job. The validity of his argument is up for debate, but it seemed worthy of a mention. Regardless of that dicussion, there should be little doubt that Nolan dealt with his fair share of discrimination.

Different minority groups haven’t always gotten along very well with each other, either, as you can see from an ugly incident involving Chris Simon (Ojibwa descent) and black winger Mike Grier.

Jarome Iginla being left off one 2002 Hart Trophy ballot: Much like Nolan’s claims, this situation isn’t cut-and-dry. There could be plenty of other reasons why one award voter left Jarome Iginla off of his Hart Trophy ballot altogether, but a subset of hockey people still wonder if racism was the true catalyst. (It ended up changing the voting process, so it was a significant moment either way.)

Modern players discuss dealing with racism: Before they became the Winnipeg Jets, the Atlanta Thrashers were trying to improve themselves on the ice and at the box office by adding a relatively large amount of black players to their roster. CNN caught up with some of the Thrashers’ black stars to ask them about racism in the sport.

American History X and hockey: To finish things off with a random but interesting anecdote, Frank Meeink – a former skinhead who served as the loose basis for Edward Norton’s character in the film “American History X”began to dispel his racist viewpoints when he started playing ball hockey with black players.


Hopefully this was an interesting snapshot of a troubling issue for the sport, but if you want to go back deeper into the history of black hockey players, click here.

NHL suspends Bobby Ryan two playoff games for foot stomp

Bobby Ryan, Jordin Tootoo

Much like the Anaheim Ducks’ other top forwards, Bobby Ryan made a big impact on their series-tying Game 2 win. He won’t be able to make an impact until the series returns to Anaheim in Game 5, however, because the NHL handed him a two-game suspension for stomping on Jonathan Blum’s foot, according to Eric Stephens of the OC Register.

Missing two playoff games will be a harsh lesson for the budding superstar, especially since Game 3 and 4 will take place in Nashville. Ryan will regret that mistake that much more if the Predators take a 3-1 series lead in his absence.

(For video footage of the stomp, check out the clip at the bottom of this post.)

As we discussed before, there are precedents for some significant suspensions regarding stomping motions, although Chris Simon and Chris Pronger’s incidents were more egregious examples of dangerous skate usage. (Simon received a 30-game suspension and Pronger was sidelined eight games, but both players were repeat offenders, which also factored into their hefty punishments.)

Here’s what league disciplinarian Colin Campbell said about the decision, via TSN.

“The actions by Ryan were both reckless and dangerous,” said NHL Senior Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell.  “While it was fortunate there was no injury to Blum on the play, the act of using your skate in this manner is unacceptable.”

It didn’t appear to be a malicious move, but on the other hand, the league needs to discourage players from using their skate blades in dangerous ways. The league’s justice system is still a bit on the nebulous side, but I’d say that they got this one about right, especially since this wasn’t a moment that could be attributed to the speed of the game (at least compared to controversial open-ice hits).

Ducks fans obviously won’t be happy with this decision, but the NHL’s message is clear: players must acknowledge the fact that their skates can double as weapons and must be careful to use them properly. Something tells me Ryan won’t make that mistake again.

Bobby Ryan could face suspension for ‘stomp’ on Jonathan Blum


If you watch hockey for long periods of time, there might be moments when you almost forget that these guys are skating around on razor-sharp blades. The deft skating skills of NHL players can be downright transfixing, but every once in a while, there’s a sobering reminder that skates can be used on an opponent (consciously or not).

Bobby Ryan scored two goals in a big Game 2 win for the Anaheim Ducks last night, but one foolish action will force him to have a disciplinary hearing with the NHL that could end up with a suspension. TSN reports that he will face that hearing after stomping his skate onto Jonathan Blum’s foot while fighting for a puck late in the third period.

(For video of the stomp, click here. On the Forecheck also has an isolated “GIF” of the stomp.)

There are two major precedents when it comes to players being suspended for stomping motions. Chris Pronger received an eight-game suspension for stomping on Ryan Kesler during his Ducks days (is there something in that pond water?) while Chris Simon was hit with a whopping 30-game suspension for his transgression.

Ryan isn’t likely to face as severe as a punishment for three reasons: he’s not a repeat offender, it was a battle for the puck instead of away-from-the-game shenanigans and playoff games are obviously more important than regular season contests.

Still, it wouldn’t be surprising if the league handed out some kind of fine and/or suspension to discourage players from using their skates so inappropriately. It really didn’t seem like Ryan needed to do that and it wasn’t a moment that could really be blamed on the blinding speed of the game.

What do you think? Should Ryan get nothing, a one-game suspension or even face the possibility of a first round ban? Let us know in the comments. We’ll inform you once the league makes a verdict.