Per ISLANDERS INSIDER and the Islanders website: SUPPORT FOR CHRIS SIMON
Islanders to provide veteran forward time away from the team. This afternoon, the New York Islanders released the following pair of statements from owner Charles Wang and veteran forward Chris Simon. As the statements indicate, Simon has been granted some time away from the team.
From Charles Wang: “The actions of Chris Simon on Saturday do not reflect what the New York Islanders stand for. They were reckless, potentially dangerous and against our team concept of grit, character and heart. We know Chris as a respected teammate and as a gracious man away from the playing surface and believe strongly that he has earned our continued support. The Islanders are going to provide some time for Chris away from the team and give him the counseling he needs and the compassion he deserves. When Chris is completely ready, he will be a member of our team again.”
From Chris Simon: “I want to start off by making clear that there is no excuse for my actions on Saturday night and I apologize to everyone involved. The Islanders and I agree that the right thing to do is for me to take some time away from the team. I have enjoyed a long career achieving my dream of being a player in the National Hockey League and I’m proud of my accomplishments. But I acknowledge that time and assistance is needed before I return to the game. I want to thank the Islanders for providing the environment for me to become a better player and person, and our fans for their support along the way.”
Sorry for just posting just the statement earlier, but it was all I could manage from my phone as the release came across my inbox. Now that I am home I will give my take on the latest developments.
I was honestly surprised to see a statement directly from Charles Wang today; I thought for sure I would’ve seen something from GM Garth Snow or through a generic PR statement. Much like Ken at Islanders Outsider – I feel that a statement directly from Wang even before the league has decided what length of suspension Simon will receive is a great move. You can tell that Wang doesn’t tolerate this type of behavior, but he is supporting a player who he feels needs help from outside sources. He doesn’t defend his actions or place the blame on the fact that Simon clearly needs counseling for whatever his problems are. However, all support aside – the door is clearly left open for Simon’s return – which I don’t know if I agree with. There are only so many times a fan can forgive and forget the type of actions we have seen take place on the ice. The game or the Islanders as a team do not deserve the reputation(s) that have been thrust upon it.
As far as Simon’s apology – there aren’t many words that could be said that would make die hard and casual fans of the sport alike, forget the growing list of infractions against Chris Simon. As a player, I have all but lost faith in believing he can control himself in a manner that is respectable to his teammates, fellow players and those involved in the sport of hockey. As a human being, I am sure that Chris Simon is all of the things those around him claim him to be – but for the time being, his leave of absence from the Islanders and the sport of hockey is a positive thing.
Those on the outside of this picture will likely claim the Islanders are in damage control mode and place the blame on the coaching staff and the owner – but there is only so much you can do or say to an individual who cannot control himself and the blame should not be placed on the team or anyone involved therein.
I don’t envy the job of the men and women who make the Islanders tick on days like this – but I guess you need to take the good and the bad sometimes.