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Chris Simon should be banned for life

The NHL hit Chris Simon with a league-record suspension of 25 games for his vicious, two-handed stick attack on the New York Rangers' Ryan Hollweg last Thursday. But the league has missed another opportunity to set a new standard for the sport and for the league. They should have banned this goon. Let him be gone into swift retirement. The league doesn't need him. I'm sure his team can find a replacement. Simon, of the Islanders and once of the Caps, mad-chopped Hollweg to the face with his stick last week, and if you haven't seen the video, click here.

Simon will miss the rest of the regular season and playoffs. Big deal. He should just be gone. It should be Man law.

Simon has been suspended four other times for violence and he received a three-game ban in 1997 after directing a racial slur toward player Mike Grier, one of the few black players in the NHL. Simon's career should be finished.

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This kind of stupid violence has no place in the sport -- and everyone keeps saying that, but these attacks keep happening. Simon's madness came on the three-year anniversary of Vancouver Canuck Todd Bertuzzi's brutal attack on Colorado's Steve Moore. The league keeps lengthing suspensions of players who use their sticks to inflict injury to opponents, but it keeps happening. And these are the moments that make the sports shows and get all the views on the Internet. It's what the league is known for, and that's a terrible shame, particularly because the play of the professional game has become so good in recent years, led by some young and fabulous skaters who've brought a new look and excitement to the post-lockout NHL.

As long as NHL tolerates attacks like Simon's -- and a 25-game suspension is toleration, in my book -- then hockey will never reach the vaster audience it seeks, and never become in the public's mind all that it could, the fastest and most exciting sport on earth. The NHL just missed another opportunity to ascend to a whole new level of class and prestige by saying goon be gone.

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