In a one-on-one interview with newyorkislanders.com after speaking with reporters at practice today, Islanders head coach Ted Nolan discussed the suspension of Chris Simon. The Islanders veteran forward was suspended yesterday by the NHL for a minimum of 25 games, including the rest of this season and the playoffs.
Here are some excerpts from our interview with Nolan:
"Chris Simon is a very proud New York Islander, so I doubt that you're going to hear anyone in our room say it was a fair suspension. To take away the rest of his regular season would have been plenty enough. But to say he can't be part of the team for the Stanley Cup playoffs does not seem fair."
"Chris made a mistake. No one is here defending what happened or saying he shouldn't have been suspended. But it's obvious something wasn't right with him. I've known Chris since he was a teenager. He doesn't take out personal vendettas when it's 1-1 with six minutes left in the biggest game of the season against our biggest rival. That's just not the player or person he is."
"I was thinking (the suspension) would be 12 games. This way Chris would be out for the last two games we have against the Rangers at the Coliseum. Maybe the rest of the regular season. But not beyond that."
"Chris is devastated right now. He knows what he did was wrong and we're all happy the other player (Ryan Hollweg) was not injured and returned to the game. Chris is going to need some time, but when he's ready he'll still be a part of our team. As I said, Chris was very proud to be an Islander this season and he is a very important player for us. He made a mistake, but everyone who cares about this franchise is going to be there for him. A lot of people on the outside are trying to portray him as something he is not. In our biggest stretch of the season, Chris Simon had 5 goals in our last 8 games."
"I'll tell you what: this is the last we're talking about it. The media was here today and we addressed this issue. But this is not going to continue in Canada tomorrow and for the rest of the trip. It's over today. From now on in, our responsibility is to rally around Chris and win as many games as we can."
Islander fans can check Tuesday's editions of Newsday, the Daily News and New York Times for more coverage. Islanders TV, News 12 Long Island and NBC-4 were also at Islanders Iceworks today for reaction.