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Lemieux Statement Not Being Well Received

from Bob McKenzie of TSN,

The NHL has no intention of fining Mario Lemieux for his critical public remarks on the league’s handling of disciplinary matters following the New York Islanders-Pittsburgh Penguins gong show on Friday night.

Lemieux is, however, losing big in the court of public opinion. He’s being called a hypocrite by those who feel Penguin forward Matt Cooke’s style of play, questionable at best and dirty at worst, should preclude Lemieux from condemning aberrant behaviour. Also, Lemieux implying he may have to re-think his involvement with the NHL because of this has many portraying Lemieux as a spoiled kid who’s thinking about taking his puck and going home because he doesn’t like how the game is going.

All that said, though, the Cooke issue and Lemieux’s specific criticisms are really apples and oranges.

continued

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

Comments

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Lemieux’s comments relate to the Islander-Pens game as a whole.

That, I think, is part of the problem.  He’s speaking about one game as if it’s indicative of anything.  It was one game.  There’s no epidemic of teams getting revenge on a team that wronged them after going up 6-0 and breaking out the goonery.

If that was his point and he truly thinks that games such as Friday’s are “where the league is heading”, then he’s a moron for speaking out because this is NOT a commonplace thing.

If his point is that the league’s disciplinary standards are a joke then yes, he’s absolutely right.  But if that IS the point then some of the best evidence of that fact are the actions and non-punishment of players that he employs.  Go back to Cooke on Savard.  If they had dealt with that (and countless other “questionable” plays of the recent past) properly then stuff like Friday may not happen because guys like Martin, Gillies AND Godard will know that they’re going to suffer dearly if they do the things they did.

Of course it’s a joke that Godard got the biggest suspension of the three players, just as it’s a joke that Matt Cooke has gotten of scot-free with a number of plays.

THAT is where the hypocrisy lies.

In other words, the general sense is if Mario were truly concerned with the state of the game, not just the Penguins’ place in it, there are plenty of other ways for Mario to show it.

Absolutely.

Posted by Garth on 02/15/11 at 01:52 AM ET

HMB Wing's avatar

Cam Cole of the Vancouver Sun said it best today, when he described Mario’s little fit as “situational ethics”.

Posted by HMB Wing from Bay Area on 02/15/11 at 02:01 AM ET

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All that said, though, the Cooke issue and Lemieux’s specific criticisms are really apples and oranges.

Thank you, Bob McKenzie for pointing out the blatantly obvious.

Posted by StevieSteve on 02/15/11 at 02:11 AM ET

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Which so many are so unable to grasp, by the way. Barbarism and dangerous play are two different things.

Posted by StevieSteve on 02/15/11 at 02:12 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

If you went on to read the entirety of the McKenzie piece, you’ll see he also addressed the piece that you’ve refused to grasp, Steve: 

Lemieux’s criticisms still ring hollow, though, because he could, if truly interested, back his words by actions
...
In other words, the general sense is if Mario were truly concerned with the state of the game, not just the Penguins’ place in it, there are plenty of other ways for Mario to show it.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 02/15/11 at 02:17 AM ET

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

Way to read the entire article.

Posted by Garth on 02/15/11 at 02:20 AM ET

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Barbarism and dangerous play are two different things.

People said they’re the same, right?

Right?

BTW, congrats on finding one person who agrees with you…  Proves that you’re right, doesn’t it?

Posted by Garth on 02/15/11 at 02:27 AM ET

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When did I say Putting out a statement like this was the best way to address the situation? Answer: I didn’t. This apples and oranges concept is not as hard to grasp as people are trying to make it.

The quoted portion references attending BoG meetings, not Matt Cooke. Mckenzie just talked about this on TSN.

Posted by StevieSteve on 02/15/11 at 02:34 AM ET

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Every player who has gone on record agrees with me

Posted by StevieSteve on 02/15/11 at 02:36 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

So it’s ok if what Lemieux said “rings hollow” as he fails to practice what he preaches as long as we’re not comparing Cooke to Gillies then, right?

I can live with that.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 02/15/11 at 02:42 AM ET

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So it’s ok if what Lemieux said “rings hollow” as he fails to practice what he preaches as long as we’re not comparing Cooke to Gillies then, right?

Once again, Cooke is not Gillies, Kaleta is not Ciccone, Richards is not Chris Simon, etc..

Are Cooke, Kaleta and Richards emblematic of a problem? Yup. Toss Colby Armstrong, Chris Niel, Cal Clutterbuck and, yes, Nik Kronwall in the same category, whether you like it or not. Video will back me up.

Are any of them the same problem as Haley, Martin, Gillies, Boulerice, Gratton, Vityaz Chekov (etc. etc.)? No. Ergo speaking out about one does not necessarily demand speaking out about the other.

Lotta Canadian players were asked to throw Mario under the bus for hyposcrisy. Every one of them repointed blame at Bettman or declined to comment. This is across three franchises.

Is barbarism and a Niklas Kronwall-type headshot related? Maybe, but that’s another discussion. Noted Penguin homer Wyshynski nailed the whole situation yesterday morning, by the way.

Posted by StevieSteve on 02/15/11 at 07:31 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

We’re going in circles now.  You throw Wyshynski, I use Joe Yerdon.

Cooke to Kronwall is the real apples-to-oranges comparison and it horribly weakens the point through which you’re trying to stumble.  Nik Kronwall has one major penalty in his six-year career.  I know you like to throw him in Wings fans’ faces because he’s the closest thing to a dirty player* on the league’s cleanest team, but it’s a false comparison and ultimately meaningless.

If what the Islanders did in one game, as a comparison to what Cooke does consistently is comparing aggravated assault to drunk driving, then comparing that to Niklas Kronwall’s career adds the metaphorical comparable of accidentally claiming an unqualified charitable donation on your taxes.

The point is that Mario Lemieux has less of a pulpit on which to stand “for the integrity of the game and the safety of the players” while silently supporting a player which hurts both of those things.  I don’t care about Clutterbuck, Kaleta, Armstrong, or Neil - Matt Cooke is by far the league’s dirtiest player and he’s a continuing problem.  Throwing those other names around in an attempt to dilute Mario’s hypocrisy and Cooke’s filthiness rings as hollow as the words of the man you’re trying to defend.

So, the fact remains that Mario Lemieux is right that the barbarism displayed by the Islanders in that one game is a stain on the game, but his message is weakened by his support of a lesser stain.  That’s hypocritical. 

(*unless you want to throw Bertuzzi out there, but chose not to because he’s been clean since 2004)

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 02/15/11 at 11:15 AM ET

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This is across three franchises.

WOWWWWWWW, three franchises?  Well, that says it all.

Oh, and what do you think “declines comment” means?  Do you think they adamently support Lemieux or do you think they didn’t want to speak against one of the acknowledged best players ever?

That’s what I thought.

Posted by Garth on 02/15/11 at 11:19 AM ET

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All that said, though, the Cooke issue and Lemieux’s specific criticisms are really apples and oranges.

Here’s my issue yet again, what “specific criticisms” did Mario give?  I only find one.

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


Did the Isles actions jeopardize “the integrity of the game”?  YES
Does Cooke’s actions jeopardize “the integrity of the game”?  YES

Did the Isles actions jeopardize “the safety of our players”?  YES
Does Cooke’s actions jeopardize “the safety of our players”?  YES

We are calling out Mario that if he’s going to preach, then he needs to practice what he preaches.  People keep saying apple vs. orange.  But in the context of Mario’s statement and wording there is NO orange.  It is purely Apple vs. Apple.

(partially re-posted from another thread)

Posted by Dahrken from Grand Rapids, MI on 02/15/11 at 12:52 PM ET

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hmm…  got the “quote” brackets screwed up somehow.  Sorry all.

Posted by Dahrken from Grand Rapids, MI on 02/15/11 at 12:53 PM ET

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How can anyone compare Nick Kronwall to Matt Cooke???? StevieSteve must be the same idiot who cry’s about kronwall on Milve.

Just an FYI the hit kronwall put on Martin Havlat was clean he hit him head on and Havlat was in possession of the puck!!! it’s havlets fault he had his head down!!!

Posted by jtssrx on 02/15/11 at 02:09 PM ET

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I love the repeated use of the term “barbarism”.  Hysterical.

Posted by Unicorn Force from DC (but like everyone here, I'm not a local) on 02/15/11 at 02:15 PM ET

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Cooke and Lemieux’s comments are apples to oranges? Really?
All this nonsense was in direct response of 1 single Penguin player: Matt Cooke. Cooke ran Rick DiPietro 3 times in their first meeting this season. Then in DP’s last game he was attempting to run him again which is when DP gave him a small shot that sparked the fight between Johnson and DiPietro. DP picking to fight there wasn’t a “smart” move though as it knocked DP out of the line-up. The Islanders were simply seeking retribution from that. Mario can whine all he wants, but the fact is all this nonsense is because Mario Lemieux and the Penguins staff can’t keep a leash on Matt Cooke. Mario needs to take a long look at himself, his organization, and the people they employ before making brash comments like he did the other day. This is no one elses fault, but the Penguins for putting a clown like Cooke on the ice on a nightly basis and letting him get away with the nonsense he does. Mario should be ashamed of himself, not anyone else. The NHL should be ashamed at how much they white glove the Penguins and let them get away with murder, but that’s another story.

Posted by DinkusMaximus on 02/16/11 at 04:48 AM ET

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Cooke to Kronwall is the real apples-to-oranges comparison and it horribly weakens the point through which you’re trying to stumble

It does not. Please. For any Matt Cooke headshot, I can provide one from Kronwall, and two from Colby Armstrong, Chris Niel or Mike Richards. And I don’t even like Matt Cooke. Quit being a homer. Play similar to that of Cooke is something that I believe should be addressed much more harshly than it is. I wanted him to receive a 25 game suspension for a hit that was not illegal at the time. I can link that if I look long enough.

Mike Richards, to use the player I am most-prejudiced against, has never done anything comparable to what the Islanders did. In fact, in a brawl I did not think crossed the line, Richards quit punching Crosby when a third man joined the fray.

It is telling that no NHL player that has gone on the record has reference Matt Cooke when asked about the Islanders incident. Matt Cooke’s behavior and that of Gillies or Martin are a world of different things.

So, the fact remains that Mario Lemieux is right that the barbarism displayed by the Islanders in that one game is a stain on the game, but his message is weakened by his support of a lesser stain

Yes.

The point is that Mario Lemieux has less of a pulpit on which to stand “for the integrity of the game and the safety of the players” while silently supporting a player which hurts both of those things.

Yes. In the grand scheme of “all things wrong with hockey that ain’t fixed”, Mario Lemieux has not done enough, which puts him in the same category as Steve Yzerman, Wayne Gretzky and Bobby Orr. The category he has always been in.

NHL supplemental discipline is not only unacceptable, it is regressing. Lucic gets nothing for what Domi got 8 games for. Matt Martin gets 4 games for attempting what Bertuzzi got a season for (those are Kris Versteeg’s words, not mine). Trevor Gillie gets 9 games for something worse than Steve Downie got 20 for.

Brad Richards just went down with a concussion, which is a semi-permanent injury. We now have Crosby, Lindros, Primeau, Francis, Kariya, Richards, Hemsky, Weight, LaFontaine, Savard and many more potentially lost to headshots.

That’s a different issue than an ejected guy going crazy and fighting a goalie.

Posted by StevieSteve on 02/16/11 at 07:20 AM ET

redxblack's avatar

It does not. Please. For any Matt Cooke headshot, I can provide one from Kronwall,

Please, let’s see what you’ve got. The two aren’t comparable players. I’ll give you bonus points on your comparables if you constrain your videos to just this year, but if not, please match the two up year to year. Kronwall has had 224 PIM in six NHL seasons (or about 37 mins per season). Cooke has had 859 PIM in 12 seasons (or about 71 mins per season). It gets worse when you look at the games played in that period. Cooke averages 1.17 PIM per game in the regular season. Kronwall averages about 43 seconds per game. None of these figures count the current season, where Kronwall has 26 PIM in 57 games and Cooke has 106 in 54 games.

Google Nik Kronwall penalty and the top hit is from 2009. Do the same for Matt Cooke penalty and you get a slew of news reports. Cooke is the 17th most penalized player this season. Kronwall is ranked #311.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 02/16/11 at 11:05 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

It does not. Please. For any Matt Cooke headshot, I can provide one from Kronwall

Name that tune, bitch.

How about one example of Kronwall slashing somebody behind the play for every time Cooke does it?

How about Kronwall throwing a knee at somebody for every time Cooke has done it?

Matt Cooke has more majors, misconducts, and suspensions THIS SEASON than Kronwall has in his ENTIRE CAREER, so don’t try to tell me you can pull a one-for-one comparison on their play.  To try to lump nearly anybody in the league in with Matt Cooke is nothing more than a thin attempt at trying to justify his dirty play and that’s sickening.  Find me one goddamn fan of this league who roots for neither the Penguins nor the Red Wings who will say that Kronwall is as dirty as Cooke and I’ll find you a mouth-breathing idiot who likes to say ridiculous things just to stir up controversy.

If the talk about Matt Cooke in the light of Mario Lemieux’s comments is such a bad thing, like you’ve been spouting off about for a few days, then to talk about any player other than Cooke in the light of what we’re talking about is an equal transgression; nobody in the league is as dirty as Matt Cooke.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 02/16/11 at 11:13 AM ET

redxblack's avatar

I hope this one doesn’t get lost, as I am curious about the specific comparisons.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 02/16/11 at 05:58 PM ET

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