The National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations wants NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell to apologize to Chris Simon for mistakenly suggesting the suspended New York Islanders forward would receive counseling for drug and alcohol issues.
Phil Fontaine released a statement yesterday, the day after Campbell announced that Simon would be banned for a league-record 30 games. Simon was suspended for stomping on Pittsburgh Penguins forward Jarkko Ruutu in a game last weekend.
"I agree with the NHL, and the vast majority of hockey fans, that Mr. Simon must be punished for this unfortunate incident with a Pittsburgh player during last Saturday's game," Fontaine said. "However, it was extremely hurtful to Mr. Simon, and his many fans, including those in our First Nations communities, to hear from Mr. Campbell that such behavior is related to drug and or alcohol abuse."
Campbell, the NHL's senior executive vice president and director of hockey operations, refused to comment. During a conference call Wednesday, Campbell said he hoped the "the actual help [Simon's] going to get and counseling he's going to get from the drug and the alcohol doctors" would help Simon "deal with the problem he has."
A league spokesman said Campbell was referring to the league and union's jointly administered substance-abuse and behavioral health program, which is providing Simon counseling for behavioral management.
Counseling details are kept confidential, but Islanders spokesman Chris Botta confirmed drugs and alcohol are "not the issue."
Simon is a member of the First Nation Ojibwa tribe.
In games last night:
* At St. Paul, Minn., Marian Gaborik posted the NHL's first five-goal game in a decade, lifting the Minnesota Wild to a 6-3 win over the New York Rangers.
Gaborik's outburst was the biggest in the league since Sergei Fedorov scored five for Detroit on Dec. 26, 1996, in an overtime game against Washington.
* At Vancouver, Daniel Sedin scored twice in the third period and Roberto Luongo made 33 saves, leading the Canucks to a 3-2 win over Dallas.
* At St. Louis, Keith Tkachuk and Lee Stempniak scored power-play goals in the third period, and Manny Legace made 34 saves to help the Blues to a 3-2 victory over Detroit.
* At Tampa, Fla., Vincent Lecavalier scored with 41.6 seconds left in the third period and newcomer Karri Ramo made 31 saves to lead the Lightning past Toronto, 2-1.
* At Boston, Sidney Crosby scored a goal and assisted on two by Evgeni Malkin as Pittsburgh defeated the Bruins in a shootout, 5-4.
* At Atlanta, Todd White's power-play goal 47 seconds into the third period broke a tie and helped the Thrashers snap Ottawa's winning streak at six, with a 3-2 victory.
* At Sunrise, Fla., Brett McLean scored the winner, and the Florida Panthers moved above .500 for the first time this season with a 5-4 win over Carolina.
* At Washington, Guilliaume Latendresse scored two goals in his return from a benching, and Montreal beat the Capitals, 5-2. *