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Finally Someone Speaks Up

from Cam Cole of the Vancouver Sun,

The message should not be lost. Sadly, it might be.

A National Hockey League owner - that is, a member of that society of mutes that has remained stonily silent, Sphinx-like, while star player after star player has been hammered into unconsciousness - has actually spoken out against the stupidity. That is progress.

An NHL owner has actually rebelled against the lowest-common-denominator ethos of Gary Bettman’s desperate reign, in which the governing class seems to have concluded that hockey minus violence is unmarketable in the United States - a conclusion quietly endorsed by the overwhelming majority of league owners.

So before we get to what’s wrong with the source of Sunday’s complaint, let’s celebrate the fact that one of the commissioner’s sheep finally had enough of watching the no-talent bums set the on-ice agenda through what might be remembered as the saddest age in hockey’s history.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: mario+lemieux

Comments

Primis's avatar

So before we get to what’s wrong with the source of Sunday’s complaint, let’s celebrate the fact that one of the commissioner’s sheep finally had enough of watching the no-talent bums set the on-ice agenda through what might be remembered as the saddest age in hockey’s history.

What a toolbag.

You CAN’T ignore what’s wrong with the complaint, because what’s wrong with it trashes its source’s credibility and make sit all a moot point.  You can’t celebrate the selfishness and self-serving of the complaint.

Until Mario scratches Cooke for the rest of the year for being a stooge he can just STFU.

Isn’t amazing what total douchebags Gretzky and Mario have turned out to be?  That’s as much a lesson fro all of this as anything—Lemieux and Gretzky’s credibility post-playing career is terrible and for many people that are fans NOW, that’s going to be Lemieux and Gretzky’s legacy.

Looks like maybe Nieuwendyk, Yzerman, and some others really did eventually come out on top of these two.

Posted by Primis on 02/14/11 at 04:52 PM ET

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Nearly everyone outside of the Pittsburgh area has the same response to Lemieux’s statement “you have matt cooke on your team, therefore you are a hypocrite”.

Matt Cooke is a hard working player.  I enjoy watching him on most nights as a penguin fan.  The true reason that Matt Cooke is a penguin is because the penguins play in the same division as the Flyers.  You can not face a team with guys like Hartnell, Carcillo, Richards, Shelley, O’Donnell, and Pronger 6 (was 8) times a year without some grit in your lineup.

Remember… Richards was the guy who took out Booth with the very same type of hit Cooke administered to Savard.  The penguins would much rather have the high flying style they always seemed to have in the 90’s featuring Kovalev, Straka, Lang, Mario, Jagr, Mullen, Recchi, etc… but the fact is they got physically beaten by the Flyers.

Guys like Cooke, Rupp, and Goddard serve as a deterrent against the flyers when times got physical.  If you are a guy like Richards, maybe you think twice about flying around and taking someones head off when the other team is dressing a guy like Cooke…. at least that is my opinion on what Shero has done with the penguins roster over the past 5-6 years. 

The fact that Shero has won a cup helps support that notion that grit, like Cooke, in your lineup does help you win the ultimate prize.  Lemieux stating what he did should be commended.  Honestly, any team with a high skill level should recognize that what the Islanders did is not want the NHL should stand for.  Imagine if this had been another team, say the Capitals or Canucks.  Imagine if after getting tossed from the game, the very same player rushes down ice and fights Luongo or while on the boards battling for a puck, a career AHL’er takes a run at the head of Backstrom and while down continues to punch him in the head.  All of this coming from an orgainization that most likely will not see the playoffs for the next 10 years.  A team who signed a goalie to a 15 year contract and is still on the hook for a russian player who has not played in the league for 3 years?  A team who is so poorly run, that the only way they can entertain their 12,500 fans in attendance is by nearly killing players on the opposite side.

Posted by gretzky_to_lemieux on 02/14/11 at 05:05 PM ET

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Isn’t amazing what total douchebags Gretzky and Mario have turned out to be?

When you don’t respect guys like Gretzky or Lemieux you have not right to be a fan of the NHL.

Posted by gretzky_to_lemieux on 02/14/11 at 05:06 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

So suddenly it’s the Flyers’ fault that the Penguins have goons?

Funny, Mario Lemieux was the owner of the Penguins when Ray Shero went out and filled his roster with guys who take runs at people for their “deterrent” and he remained eerily silent and tacitly approving of that move when all he had to do was heroically speak out against the fact that he felt it had to be done.

This is getting into Uncle Tom territory.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 02/14/11 at 05:09 PM ET

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So suddenly it’s the Flyers’ fault that the Penguins have goons?

Well i hope that is not how my post came across.  I am simply stating that the grit was added to the penguins lineup to compete against the flyers.  If you do not agree with that idea, then I probably can not persuade you.  But the fact is when a team in your division gets a player or goes down a certain road, you have to counter.  For example, when the Flyers got defensive last season and signed Pronger, the penguins also got defensive and spent their money on Z and Martin.  Its just the nature of how teams work within their division.  The flyers have always been the main team (also NJ) to beat and they always dressed a physical team.

Posted by gretzky_to_lemieux on 02/14/11 at 05:15 PM ET

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The Islanders play in the same division as the Penguins and Flyers, looks like they are just arming themselves to protect themselves from the state of Pennsylvania.

Posted by hockey1919 from mid-atlantic on 02/14/11 at 05:38 PM ET

behind the net in G.R.'s avatar

Everyone should go to espn.com NHL and read Scott Burnside’s article on this subject.

Posted by behind the net in G.R. on 02/14/11 at 05:44 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

I completely understand the concept that a team has to adapt its lineup for the people against whom they play, I actually have no problem with Rupp, Godard, and Asham as gritty guys to deal with the pests in Philadelphia.  The Red Wings had problems handling the Ducks’ size and physical game and they went out and got Brad Stuart.  Sure, he doesn’t fight nearly as much as those three Penguins, but it’s an understandable reaction.

I simply argue that having Matt Cooke in your lineup is not in any means a deterrent.  If anything, Cooke makes it MORE likely that guys like Crosby and Malkin are going to have to put up with more shit because he’s there pulling cheap bullshit and making teams want to reciprocate.

The timing of the Lemieux statement is just awful though.  I’ll echo what’s been said just about everywhere, Lemieux is absolutely right that the league needs to cut down on bush-league goon behavior - but until he talks to reporters and has an answer for the obvious Cooke questions, his very good point is tarnished by the fact that he waited until the Penguins were the victims of premeditated intent-to-injure plays similar to what Cooke does before “heroically” speaking out against the issue.  He’s now under the onus to hold his own club to the standard he’s demanding.  I hope he has the courage to do that next time #24 in black sticks his knee into a guy’s path.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 02/14/11 at 05:54 PM ET

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Bob shouldn’t complain about mugging because his brother is a drunk driver. That’s essentially what this hypocrisy charge amounts to.

Posted by StevieSteve on 02/14/11 at 06:14 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

How do you figure that, Steve?

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 02/14/11 at 06:25 PM ET

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Bob shouldn’t complain about mugging because his brother is a drunk driver. That’s essentially what this hypocrisy charge amounts to.

More like Bob shouldn’t complain about mugging, because he bought a laptop for $40 down the pub from a guy with a reputation for mugging people.

Posted by fcjbencard on 02/14/11 at 06:27 PM ET

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Bob shouldn’t complain about mugging because his brother is a drunk driver.

Wow, really?  Because I don’t see much of a comparison between mugging and drunk driving, but there’s definitely a DIRECT comparison between dirty play and dirty play.

Posted by Garth on 02/14/11 at 06:41 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Maybe “Bob shouldn’t complain about mugging because he hired that guy to steal his car so he could make an insurance claim on it” ?

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 02/14/11 at 06:42 PM ET

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How do you figure that, Steve?

Easy.

This is not this. This is not this. This is not this.

Is all this stuff bad? Yeah. But decrying outright barbarism does not require reckoning with dangerous, injurious hockey hits because they’re not the same thing. Maybe you’ve got video of Matt Cooke beating Savard while he was unconscious, but I guess I missed that camera angle.

Posted by StevieSteve on 02/14/11 at 06:49 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

We, as a league, must do a better job of protecting the integrity of the game and the safety of our players.

-Mario Lemieux, 2011

Matt Cooke is interested in neither the integrity of the game nor the safety of its players.

Bob shouldn’t complain about mugging because he raised his son to be a burglar.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 02/14/11 at 06:56 PM ET

bezukov's avatar

There are plenty of guys who play on the edge in the NHL.  I even wish one of the Red Wings, Nick Kronwall, would take it easy sometimes.  Some of the Flyers skate a fine line between tough play and recklessness to be sure.  Nonetheless, not even Pronger heads out on the ice with plans on injuring people to the extend that Cooke does.  I know it isn’t much fun when your team is called out Pen fans (this coming from a fan of the so called “yankee’s of hockey,” but this time you need to call a spade a spade.  Cooke is a worm, and Mario is talking out of both sides of his mouth.  You can’t let Cooke’s antics go on for this long and then get out the Johnson & Johnson Baby Shampoo when it happens to your team. 

In a situation like this I take my hat off to the Dallas Stars, when they got sick of Avery’s BS they benched him themselves.  Maybe the rest of the league could take a cue from them.

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 02/14/11 at 06:57 PM ET

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-Mario Lemieux, 2011

Matt Cooke is interested in neither the integrity of the game nor the safety of its players.

In the context of this

“Hockey is a tough, physical game, and it always should be. But what happened Friday night on Long Island wasn’t hockey. It was a travesty. It was painful to watch the game I love turn into a sideshow like that.

“The NHL had a chance to send a clear and strong message that those kinds of actions are unacceptable and embarrassing to the sport. It failed.”

To include Cooke in the context of barbarism, which was what the statement was addressing, as opposed to general recklessness or dirtiness, you have to find him punching an unconscious Savard or trying to Bertuzzi someone (little known fact, Matt Cooke’s response to Steve Moore in that same game was to fight him fairly in the first period). To my knowledge no such video exists.

There is a significant difference between the actions of the Jesse Boulerices, Trevor Gillieses or Chris Simons of the world and the Patrick Kaletas or Matt Cookes.

In fact, if Mario’s a hypocrite, it’s because his AHL franchise pays Boulerice, not because his NHL team pays Cooke.

Posted by StevieSteve on 02/14/11 at 07:11 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

So he’s ONLY worried about the integrity of the game when it’s challenged in the perfect context?

Mario Lemieux is ONLY worried about player safety when players are hurt by people of questionable offensive value to a club?

I’m actually very glad Lemieux has stayed silent since that statement then, because it that’s really how Mario Lemieux feels, then he’s not a hypocrite, he’s a moron.

Fortunately, I don’t believe Lemieux feels that way.

Yes, The Gillies, the Simons, and the Boulerices are worse, but Matt Cooke is bad.  I know the differences between what happened in that game and what Cooke does every game - I just don’t feel like you can fairly object to the one side while tacitly approving of the other.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 02/14/11 at 07:21 PM ET

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Cooke is bad. Garth Snow and his ilk, for one night, turned the NHL into the KHL. Even worse is that the NHL’s response was less serious than the KHL’s, which threatened Vityaz Chekhov with dissolution.

Objecting to that without being charged with hypocrisy does not require that one address every injustice everywhere. If Lemieux makes direct reference in this statement about the headshots Crosby has taken (which he may be mad about, but didn’t put out a public statement) or the knee Ovechkin put on Gonchar, you have an apples to apples situation, since, unlike the actions of Gillies and Martin, Cooke pulls the same exact crap. There was no such direct reference to those events.

Dirty hockey vs. Barbarism. Apples and oranges. Drunk driving vs Aggravated Assault.

Posted by StevieSteve on 02/14/11 at 07:38 PM ET

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I just don’t feel like you can fairly object to the one side while tacitly approving of the other.

Well said.

Posted by Garth on 02/14/11 at 07:39 PM ET

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Dirty hockey vs. Barbarism.

You CAN’T attack dirty hockey from other teams when you condone dirty hockey on your own team.

Period.

END.  OF.  STORY.

Posted by Garth on 02/14/11 at 07:45 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Dirty hockey vs. Barbarism. Apples and oranges. Drunk driving vs Aggravated Assault.

Posted by StevieSteve on 02/14/11 at 04:38 PM ET

Ok, so it’s small-level hypocrisy instead of full-blown.  I guess that at least partially mitigates it, sure.

But What Lemieux said in his entire statement, to use the comparison is that he hates apples, so fruit needs to get its shit together, while eating an orange.

Also, drunk driving and aggravated assault are both crimes.  That comparison is actually a bit more apt and shows a bit more why I don’t like how Lemieux handled this.  He drove drunk to a press conference where he spoke out against aggravated assault - that weakens the point of a very good message.  Maybe it doesn’t even fit the word-for-word definition of hypocrisy, but what it does fit is the mold of shitty behavior.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 02/14/11 at 07:48 PM ET

Red Winger's avatar

When you don’t respect guys like Gretzky or Lemieux you have not right to be a fan of the NHL.

Posted by gretzky_to_lemieux on 02/14/11 at 02:06 PM ET

I’m not sure it could ever be quantified, but if it were possible to give out an award for the dumbest thing ever said on the Internet, surely the above post would challenge for top spot.

Breathtaking.

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie on 02/14/11 at 08:16 PM ET

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Total hypocrisy on the part of Lemieux.  Has everyone forgotten that he never spoke out when he had douchebag teammates like Ulf Samuelson and Darius Kasparitus?  I bet Cam Neely and Eric Lindros havn’t forgotten, but apparently Mario has… he’s too busy applauding his latest douchebag, Matt Cooke.

Posted by sean_o_sean on 02/14/11 at 09:36 PM ET

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An NHL owner has actually rebelled against the lowest-common-denominator ethos of Gary Bettman’s desperate reign, in which the governing class seems to have concluded that hockey minus violence is unmarketable in the United States - a conclusion quietly endorsed by the overwhelming majority of league owners

These douchebag Canadian writers never miss a chance to trash the American fans and teams. Yet it is a douchebag Canadian caveman Don Cherry who advocates mayhem on the ice, and a caveman junior hockey system looking to develop the next Canadian grinder thug. Let’s take a look at the instigators of the travesty in Long Island:

Trevor Gillies: Cambridge Ontario- OHL Oshawa Generals
Matt Martin: Windsor Ontario- OHL Sarnia Sting
Eric Godard: Vernon BC - WHL Lethbridge Hurricanes

So if this travesty is an American made circus, it is fueled by Canadian Clowns!!

Posted by timbits on 02/15/11 at 02:41 AM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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