Friday, December 21, 2007


There are so many layers to both the Chris Simon and Kyle Okposo issues that, to be honest, I've been all over the place deciding what I want to say on this blog. I've decided to leave the Okposo case for a few more days.

As for the events surrounding Chris Simon, I'll address one issue. There is no point rambling on about Colin Campbell (an honest slip of the tongue that was not race-related), the suspension (10-15 games would have been my call) and what Simon did (troubling, inexcusable).

What did amaze me - although I guess it shouldn't have - was that any fan, reporter or anyone around the league could be cynical about what transpired at Iceworks on Monday. To recap: Charles Wang took charge. Instead of taking the easy way out, he proactively sought to help Chris Simon. Garth Snow and Ted Nolan got on board. There were a series of meetings with Simon, and later the captains and the whole team. The Islanders acted as a family. They stuck together. They backed each other up.

Whether you worked at Dairy Barn, Morgan Stanley, the New York Post, wherever, isn't this how you would like to be respected? Coincidentally, I ran into a neighbor of mine on the flight home from Toronto after the Simon hearing on Tuesday. Turns out he worked at Computer Associates during the 1980s. My neighbor hasn't been associated in any way with Charles Wang for 20 years. Even when he was at CA as a young employee, he didn't work closely with Charles. In other words, he has no dog in the hunt. But do you know what he said to me? This:

"I read about how Charles went to your practice rink and kind of led the charge in doing the right thing for Chris Simon. I know a lot of fans who thought you guys would distance yourselves from Simon, maybe even release him. But I wasn't surprised. When I was at CA, no matter who it was, Charles got involved and was always there to help. You never forget that."

How a few experienced hockey writers - including some that have reported on hockey mismanagement for decades - or even some of the fans on the message boards could view Monday's events as anything but impressive, inspirational...well, that's sad.

On Wednesday, the Islanders lost a close hockey game. On Monday, they won big.

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