Favorites Dominating Russian First Round; Simpson Chops Down Cherepanov
Reid Simpson exults after felling Alexei Cherepanov
All of the top 8 seeds in the Russian Super League playoffs have jumped out to 2-0 leads in the first round so far (series are best-of-five).
The first round has not been without its share of controversy, however, as veteran NHL enforcer Reid Simpson (playing for Vityaz Chekhov) dealt rookie scoring leader Alexei Cherepanov a supposed cheap shot in yesterday's game between #15 Vityaz and #2 Avangard Omsk, knocking Cherepanov out of the game.
Cherepanov, who surpassed Pavel Bure's rookie goal-scoring record during the regular season, had just scored his second goal of the playoffs when he was taken down by an elbow-to-thigh hit from Simpson. Cherepanov had to be helped off the ice and did not return, while Simpson was given a match penalty and thrown out of the game.
Simpson, who last time I checked was the RSL's leader in penalty minutes this season, had said before the playoffs began that Vityaz would have to play physical in order to win against heavily-favored Avangard. In an interview with Sport Express after the incident, Simpson seemed to sincerely describe his collision with Cherepanov as accidental in its severity; however, the Russian press is calling Simpson a "head-hunter", saying that, after finding his team down, he intentionally tried to injure Cherepanov, and that he acted out in a manner that is typical of Canadian hockey players.
Doing his part to help Russian - Canadian relations, Simpson said, "If they wanted a chess player, they should've called Kasparov."