Guest Author - Kevin Thorburn
On the 8th of March, 2007 you put yourself in the NHL history books. You now have one of the longest suspensions, potentially the longest depending upon how far your team, the New York Islanders advance in the playoffs, ever handed out by the league for your viscous two handed slash to the head of Ryan Hollweg of the New York Rangers. You should be proud.
Let’s replay the moments of that night: You took a clean hit from Hollweg, fell to the ice, feigning injury, hoping for a penalty to be called on the Ranger player, but after looking up to see no penalty had been called you decided to swing your hockey stick with two hands, baseball bat style, and strike Hollweg in the head. That seems accurate.
Looking closely at that description the word that stands out is “decided.” Yes, you made the decision to commit that act of cowardice. There was more than enough time to think about what you were going to do next and you chose, well, we know what you chose.
Moving on to the aftermath, as the proverbial dust begins to settle somewhat and people become less in shock over your actions and begin to look for answers – you offer an apology to your team; to Islanders fans; and to the National Hockey League. I may be missing something here, but shouldn’t an apology to Ryan Hollweg be in order? You must remember him? He’s the player wearing that different coloured uniform that ran into your stick with his face. Call me a bit of a stickler, but somebody who is genuinely sorry for something they have done usually apologises to the person they offended.
Looking closely at those written words again, “offended” pops out. That is the proper word for the simple reason that you committed an offense. Had anyone else on this planet decided to do what you did that night, they would have had their day in front of a judge by now pleading their guilt or not. Hmm, not guilty seems like a bit of a stretch for assault with a weapon, or some similar charge, when the action was shown on replays all over the world and can be viewed anytime on the internet. Maybe I digress.
To summarize, you committed this cowardly offense; you show no remorse; and, looking into your illustrious career, you have been handed your fifth suspension. Are you someone that is deserving of playing this very honourable sport at its highest level? That probably doesn’t even need an answer.