Winger Chris Simon, who won the Stanley Cup with the Colorado Avalanche in 1996, retired from the NHL in 2014.
While the Wawa, Ontario, native was capable on the ice, he’s not remembered for his play. Yes, he played in 782 games and tallied 305 points, but Simon is better remembered for the time he was forced to spend off the ice…due to suspension. The Canadian was suspended for a total of 65 games during his 15 NHL seasons, with 55 of those games coming from a pair of gruesome ingredients.
The first came in 2007. Playing for the Islanders, Simon and company were squaring off against their rivals, the New York Rangers. With 13:25 left in the third period, Ryan Hollweg checked Simon hard from behind. Simon flew face first into the boards, his head smashing against the perimeter of the ice. Concussed, a dazed Simon got back on his skates and, seeing Hollweg, swung his stick like a baseball bat, clobbering Hollweg in the face and knocking him to the ice.
Predictably Simon was immediately ejected from the game. Reportedly, the only reason Hollweg didn’t need more than a few stitches to the chin was Simon’s stick made contact with Hollweg’s shoulder pad before it his opponent’s face. Immediately suspended, the league set Simon’s suspension length at a minimum of 25 games (the remainder of the 2006-2007 season). In addition, he was also suspended for the first five games of the 2007-2008 season.
The following season, Chris Simon was again handed a record-setting ban. In a December 15 game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Simon pulled Jarkko Ruutu’s skate out from under him while Ruutu was attending to a melee. Simon then pressed the blade of his skate into the back of Ruutu’s calf, pressing down. The attempt to injure resulted in a match penalty and ejection.
After the incident, Simon tried to head off the negative ramifications by taking an indefinite leave from the sport. The NHL acted swiftly, however, slapping Simon with a 30-game suspension. The suspension was the third-longest at the time, finishing behind Raffi Torres–who was suspended for 41 games in 2015–and Marty McSorley, who was awarded a year-long suspension in 2000.
And if you’re thinking Simon’s first NHL suspension was for something minor, you would be wrong. Back in 1997, 10 years before the pair of incidents in question, Simon allegedly called Edmonton’s Mike Grief a “n***ger” and then hit him for good measure. He was only awarded a three-game suspension for the bad behavior, but he set the precedent early for impulsive behavior.