Chris Simon was dealt to the Wild at the trade deadline after he was suspended for 30 games earlier in the season. (Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)
I found Wild GM Doug Risebrough’s defense of newly-acquired occasional lunatic Chris Simon, um, interesting.
Referring to Simon’s checkered (to say the least) past, Risebrough said the winger had “issues,” not “baggage,” and asked irate fans and media skeptics to cut the former Islander some slack.
“People deserve second chances,” Risebrough said in Simon’s defense. “There's no doubt the incidents that have caused attention here were mistakes and poorly motivated decisions by Chris, but the players haven't been dramatically hurt.”
Where does one begin in the rebuttal of such an attitude? Let’s start with the concept of second chances. By my count, Simon has had somewhere in the area of 14 of them and he just can’t quite get the hang of behaving like a human being in times of on-ice stress. So much for that explanation.
Oh, and Risebrough’s “no-harm-no-foul” line? A classic apologist concept, to be sure, but unfortunately, complete and utter hogwash.
No professional sports league – or any other respectable industry, for that matter – ought to wait until a grievous injury befalls one of its employees before preventative safety measures are implemented.
Yet that’s precisely how hockey lifers like Risebrough believe their business should operate. And even when something truly horrific happens, they’ll trot out the “it’s such a random occurrence, we can live with those long odds” excuse.
Decades of this deeply flawed thinking has turned the NHL into one of those dopey, delusional parents you see at the grocery store who stand back idly as their sugar-addled terror of a child runs rampant up and down the aisles, throwing cereal boxes and candied treats around without consequence as they work through their latest tantrum.
It’s always embarrassing to see such an abject abdication of authoritative responsibility and no less so even when an otherwise classy individual like Risebrough does the same.
Adam Proteau is The Hockey News' online columnist and a regular contributor to THN.com. His blog appears Mondays and Wednesdays, his Ask Adam feature appears Tuesdays and Fridays, and his column, Screen Shots, appears Thursdays.
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