The Rise and Fall of Chris Simon

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Posted May 31, 2017

Former NHL enforcer and Capitals forward Chris Simon filed for bankruptcy and is suffering from “depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder,” according to Yahoo and the Ottawa Citizen.

A Stanley Cup winner with Colorado when he joined the Caps in 1996, Simon played 320 games for D.C., scored 72 goals (including a career-high 29 in 1999-2000), 151 points, and had 666 penalty minutes. Those aren’t bad numbers for a tough guy. He played for the Caps during their most successful season in the playoffs. Fans loved him (he even got a bobblehead), those who got to know him off the ice had great things to say about him, and he was even respected by fellow enforcers. A friend of mine even named her son after him last year.

Yet, his hockey rap-sheet tells a different story, as he comes across as one of the nastiest dudes ever to suit up. In his career, he was suspended eight times, including 25 games in 2007, and 30 more the following season. He fought ~100 times and racked up more than 2,000 penalty minutes. He was suspected of using a racial slur against future Caps teammate Mike Grier. Off the ice, he had suffered from alcoholism, before he even got to the NHL.

Simon’s struggles after hockey aren’t so unique, especially for enforcers. Another former Cap, Stephen Peat, is dealing with head issues which led him to accidentally burn down his house. Derek Boogaard‘s drug use to deal with his pain led to his death. Former Cap John Kordic dealt with similar issues and died young. Simon, 45, is currently part of a lawsuit against the NHL, alleging the league didn’t warn players about concussions and other risks.

Caps fans with fond memories of Simon’s best days in Washington can only pray for the man as he deals with issues that would completely break most people. He entertained us and we rooted for him. Now, we’ve moved on to root for new players, including the best goal scorer of this generation. Our biggest problem? Early playoff exits. Meanwhile, Simon will be suffering the consequences of this game for the rest of his life.

Ben Sumner
Ben Sumner is the editor of Capitals Outsider. He also works for The Washington Post and contributes there when he gets a scoop.
Ben Sumner