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Mario Melodrama

Hockey legend and Pittsburgh Penguins co-owner Mario Lemieux dropped an unexpected bomb on the New York Islanders and the National Hockey League in the wake of suspensions and fines announced stemming from Friday’s night at the fights between his Pens and the Isles. In short, “Super” Mario whined in print to anyone listening that if the league doesn’t start X, Y and Zing to his liking, he might just take his ball and go home.

Sound familiar? It should, of course, considering this is the guy who once dubbed the NHL a “garage league” in the early nineties, as obstruction was on the rise, and swore he was close to retiring at that time because of it. (He didn’t, remember, not right away anyway and wouldn’t have for some time, if not for illness and injury.)

The game these days, without the hooks and holds that Lemieux once complained of is probably better, as a whole, but there are some who will argue that a little of that here and there, perhaps, might prevent some of the more serious injuries and questionable hits we seem to see every other game now. Case in point, a defenseman in pursuit of the puck in his own end is often a sitting duck for approaching forecheckers these days, with his partner unable to hold up the opponent in any way, shape or form as he once was.

That example carries some weight here only because Lemieux’s comments today centered around player safety, after New York’s Matt Martin suckered Pittsburgh’s Max Talbot and teammate Trevor Gillies took out Eric Tangradi with a head shot/flying fists combo.

One has to wonder, then, a few things:

A) Does Lemieux forget that he employs one Matt Cooke,

arguably

the NHL’s most guilty party in terms of headhunting, a lack of respect for the well-being of opponents and consistently filthy play, currently suspended himself (aaaaaagain) for a vicious run from behind on Columbus defenseman Fedor Tyutin?

And B) What more, exactly, did Mario want the league to do?

Gillies was hit with a nine-game suspension for his actions of Friday night and Martin, four. The two players will forfeit more than $65,000 in their absence while the Islanders organization was also taxed $100,000.

The vile antics of the guilty Islander parties were met with well-deserved and sufficient punishment. All involved should have then been able to move on.

But Mario’s power play is on, it appears.

Upon further examination:

“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.”

Surely, some - some - of that pain had to come from having to swallow a 9-3 loss to the lowly Islanders. Much like Penguins’ defenseman Kris Letang’s postgame moaning regarding Friday’s events, whether or not these comments ever would have been made if Pittsburgh had been on the upside of a six-goal victory has to be called into question.

“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.”

These incidents pale in comparison to so many others in recent years when that message could and should have been sent. Cooke’s name, time and again, would emerge in that conversation, for starters.

This portion of Lemieux’s statement hints at lengthy, groundbreaking suspensions and fines. There’s no excusing what Gillies and Martin did but these two are way down the list of posterboys for that cause.

“We, as a league, must do a better job of protecting the integrity of the game and the safety of our players.  We must make it clear that those kinds of actions will not be tolerated and will be met with meaningful disciplinary action.”

Again, what did he expect? Nine games is no slap on the wrist. Nor is four for what Martin did.

“If the events relating to Friday night reflect the state of the league, I need to re-think whether I want to be a part of it.”

Please.

So, Lemieux’s going to sell his stake in the Penguins then and leave the NHL behind forever when, say, Cooke returns, railroads another unsuspecting opponent and isn’t kicked out of the league for good – his “clear and strong message” warning having been further ignored?

Please.

It certainly doesn’t have to be Cooke. A Phoenix Coyote could do the same to a Dallas Star before the season is out, with no message to Lemieux’s liking sent then either, and you wouldn’t see Mario bidding adieu to the Pens.

His statement today does nothing to tarnish his legend as one of the game’s all-time greats – top three, if this voice had a vote – and a two-time savior of the Penguins franchise.

But it does come across as nothing more than whiny drivel.

Suspensions were dealt out, fines levied. Nothing further, this statement included, was necessary.

And as long as Matt Cooke is part of his very own organization, Mario Lemieux should not speak again on anything regarding the integrity of the game and the safety of its players.

Glass houses, Mario.

That is all.

JJ
jj@kuklaskorner.com
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Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Islanders, Pittsburgh Penguins, NHL Talk, Cheap Hits, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: eric+tangradi, mario+lemieux, matt+cooke, matt+martin, max+talbot, trevor+gillies

Comments

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cs6687's avatar

JJ, you are so unbelievably wrong. Again, the only people who side with the Islanders and the NHL are Islanders fans, neanderthals, and people who hate the Penguins.

The Cooke argument is a particularly lame and incorrect one. Cooke has had a lot of questionable hits, but never tried to sucker punch anyone, taunt an injured player, or pick fights with goaltenders. What the Islanders did on Friday was barbaric. It has no place in the game. Cooke is a choir boy compared to what the Islanders did on Friday. There should’ve been 20+ game suspensions to Gillies and Martin. The NHL is leaving itself open to an incident where one day, a player may be killed.

Someone needed to speak up and let the NHL know it’s not protecting the players. And I guess Mario has to comment on every questionable incident in the NHL and not just the Penguins? That makes no sense. Mario doesn’t work for the NHL. His primary concern is the franchise he owns. What good does it do for him to comment on a play in, say, a Coyotes-Kings game? People need to use their heads before typing.

Posted by cs6687 on 02/13/11 at 07:05 PM ET

Oilers Rock's avatar

great blog

Posted by Oilers Rock from Edmonton, Alberta on 02/13/11 at 07:08 PM ET

redxblack's avatar

Well said, Jon! I can’t imagine any other team owner threatening to divest his interests in the league with so much drama. Mario needs to put on his big boy pants and get over a blowout from one of the worst teams in the last 10 years.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 02/13/11 at 07:13 PM ET

Oilers Rock's avatar

sure matt cooke doesnt sucker punch… but he deliberately tries to injure/hurt opponents… ask marc savard or vinny lecavallier or anyother player who had been a victim of his dirty play. bertuzzi ended one career, its countless how many matt cooke ended

Posted by Oilers Rock from Edmonton, Alberta on 02/13/11 at 07:14 PM ET

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I must have missed the part where Matt Cooke played in the game on Friday.  But hey, I guess it’s OK for the Lightning to have Steve Downie.

Mario needs to put on his big boy pants and get over a blowout from one of the worst teams in the last 10 years.

The result of the game had nothing to do with it. 

the NHL’s most guilty party in terms of headhunting

It amazes me that Mike Richards still gets a pass on this just because he said he would never do it again.  But it’s OK because David Booth plays in Florida.

Posted by pens fan in baltimore on 02/13/11 at 07:19 PM ET

Jon Jordan's avatar

cs6687:

The Cooke argument is a particularly lame and incorrect one. Cooke has had a lot of questionable hits, but never tried to sucker punch anyone, taunt an injured player, or pick fights with goaltenders.

Not much question behind any of the hits for which Cooke has been disciplined (and none either for many for which he has not but should have been). Can’t say I’ve seen him sucker anyone, true, but can’t remember the last time he actually punched anyone either. And is not running a goaltender an indirect way of picking a fight? Cause I’ve seen Cooke do that on several occasions.

But, you’re right. This isn’t about him.

Oh, wait…

Cooke is a choir boy compared to what the Islanders did on Friday. There should’ve been 20+ game suspensions to Gillies and Martin. The NHL is leaving itself open to an incident where one day, a player may be killed.

Exactly! And, an inch or two here or there and Fedor Tyutin may have become that first player killed just, what, last week?

And I guess Mario has to comment on every questionable incident in the NHL and not just the Penguins?

While these incidents were deplorable, they’re nothing compared to many others we’ve seen before. This wasn’t the time to make the example that Mario talks about. That needs to happen but there have been far, far better targets, as there will be soon again, I’m sure, unfortunately.

People need to use their heads before typing

Indeed. Make sure Mario and his PR team get that memo.

JJ

Posted by Jon Jordan from Tampa, FL on 02/13/11 at 07:19 PM ET

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Posted by Oilers Rock from Edmonton, Alberta on 02/13/11 at 04:14 PM ET

I am in now way absolving Cooke.  I have called him dirty numerous times.  What are your thoughts on Mark Messier?  Or is that OK because he was a warrior and scored some points?

Posted by pens fan in baltimore on 02/13/11 at 07:21 PM ET

Jon Jordan's avatar

pens fan in baltimore:

I must have missed the part where Matt Cooke played in the game on Friday.

Exactly. Cooke was suspended for the latest in his long run of ignoring the integrity of the game and the safety of its players (you know, Mario’s main point).

But hey, I guess it’s OK for the Lightning to have Steve Downie.

You haven’t seen Downie or the Lightning play in two-plus years, have you?

It amazes me that Mike Richards still gets a pass on this just because he said he would never do it again.  But it’s OK because David Booth plays in Florida.

Not from me. That was abhorrent. No one’s saying the league doesn’t need to shape up in terms of secondary discipline. Point is, there’s been far worse that should have sparked the call for as much.

JJ

Posted by Jon Jordan from Tampa, FL on 02/13/11 at 07:24 PM ET

cs6687's avatar

Exactly! And, an inch or two here or there and Fedor Tyutin may have become that first player killed just, what, last week?

Your stupidity blinds you. You cannot play the coulda, woulda, shoulda game. How does someone who knows nothing about the game have a blog?

You haven’t seen Downie or the Lightning play in two-plus years, have you?

Oh, I didn’t know there was a statute of limitations for players. Hypocrisy, much?

Posted by cs6687 on 02/13/11 at 07:31 PM ET

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I think the suspensions should have been longer, and the fine to the Islanders probably should have been heavier, but where the league really dropped the ball was in not suspending Cooke for that hit on Comeau.  The way Cooke plays, and the way the league fails to punish him (or at fails to punish him enough to get him to stop doing it), set these events in motion.  Maybe it wouldn’t have been the Islanders but sooner or later some team was going to have a similar reaction to some of Cooke’s shenanigans.  In this case, the Pens were probably lucky that both Crosby and Malkin were already injured because if they had been in the game I’m sure they would have been targeted.

Posted by RoneFace on 02/13/11 at 07:35 PM ET

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These Pens fans are so myopic it’s silly.  Matt Cooke may have ended the career of Marc Savard with his dirty, vicious hit to Savard’s head.  At the very least he’s ended his season and certainly jeopardized Savard’s future in the NHL.

And that’s just one out of a pretty long list of dirty, vicious Cooke hits.

Were they doing anything but defending him, all along the line?  Nope.  Not once.

So, now that their team was mostly on the receiving end of a series of dirty hits and over the line plays?  Why, that kind of tomfoolery is an outrage!  Fie, Fie!

It’s a hilariously hypocritical position.  Do better, Pens fans.  You are embarrassing yourselves.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 02/13/11 at 07:36 PM ET

cs6687's avatar

Remember when Downie tried to break Crosby’s leg two years ago? Oh, that’s right. That wasn’t within the two years that Downie has been disciplined.

Point is, there’s been far worse that should have sparked the call for as much.

And if what was for worse was properly handled by the league, incidents like Friday night don’t happen.

Posted by cs6687 on 02/13/11 at 07:37 PM ET

cs6687's avatar

It’s a hilariously hypocritical position.  Do better, Pens fans.  You are embarrassing yourselves.

Matt Cooke had nothing to do with what happened on Friday. Do you not understand that?

Posted by cs6687 on 02/13/11 at 07:38 PM ET

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While these incidents were deplorable, they’re nothing compared to many others we’ve seen before. This wasn’t the time to make the example that Mario talks about. That needs to happen but there have been far, far better targets, as there will be soon again, I’m sure, unfortunately.

I’m going to disagree with this profusely. There is a distinction between dirty or marginal play and barbarism that you are, for some reason, not seeing. It’s the difference between Ryan Hollweg and Chris Simon.


You haven’t seen Downie or the Lightning play in two-plus years, have you?

You’re only seeing what you want to see, then. In the last two years, I’ve seen Steve Downie cold-cock Ovechkin after a hit and try to wrench Crosby’s knee backwards.

Posted by StevieSteve on 02/13/11 at 07:41 PM ET

cs6687's avatar

StevieSteve, Downie is a choir boy. He has done nothing wrong in the last two years. Everything Cooke does is wrong.

Posted by cs6687 on 02/13/11 at 07:43 PM ET

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Posted by RoneFace on 02/13/11 at 04:35 PM

Are you talking about Talbot’s shoulder to shoulder hit on Comeau? 

At the very least he’s ended his season and certainly jeopardized Savard’s future in the NHL.

Cooke ended Savard’s season this year?  Must have missed that.  What about the multiple other concussions that Savard received before the Cooke hit?  Does the NHL not have blood on its hand for Savard, because they had the Richards/Booth hit to go off of but did nothing to make the hit illegal?

Posted by pens fan in baltimore on 02/13/11 at 07:44 PM ET

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Cooke has had a lot of questionable hits, but never tried to sucker punch anyone, taunt an injured player, or pick fights with goaltenders.

No, he’s just destroyed careers and viciously hit players face first into the boards.  That’s nowhere near as bad as getting int a fight with someone.

You cannot play the coulda, woulda, shoulda game.

But you can play the might, maybe could game?

Oh, I didn’t know there was a statute of limitations for players.

Well if there is it’s certainly more than a WEEK.

So please, where was Mario, getting up on his soapbox when it was HIS player attempting to end careers?  Where was he attempting to protect the integrity of the game when his employee was doing unacceptable actions?

Posted by Garth on 02/13/11 at 07:48 PM ET

cs6687's avatar

Talbot should’ve been penalized for a clean hit on Comeau? Wow. Speechless. It was a clean hit that ended with an unfortunate injury. Just because someone is hit doesn’t always mean it was done illegally.

Posted by cs6687 on 02/13/11 at 07:48 PM ET

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Everything Cooke has done in this calendar year is wrong. He could have been suspended 5 times since January 1. His off-ice issues are spilling over onto the ice. I have no problem admitting any of that.

There’s just a wide chasm between habitual dangerous line-crossing in the context of playing the game and the outright barbarism on display by Gillies and Martin.

Posted by StevieSteve on 02/13/11 at 07:49 PM ET

cs6687's avatar

There’s just a wide chasm between habitual dangerous line-crossing in the context of playing the game and the outright barbarism on display by Gillies and Martin.

Bingo. And the people who bring up Cooke don’t understand that, and that includes Jon Jon here.

Posted by cs6687 on 02/13/11 at 07:50 PM ET

Jon Jordan's avatar

cs6687:

You cannot play the coulda, woulda, shoulda game

Okay. So, who died in the Isles game? Coulda, woulda, shoulda.

RoneFace:

think the suspensions should have been longer, and the fine to the Islanders probably should have been heavier, but where the league really dropped the ball was in not suspending Cooke for that hit on Comeau.  The way Cooke plays, and the way the league fails to punish him (or at fails to punish him enough to get him to stop doing it), set these events in motion.  Maybe it wouldn’t have been the Islanders but sooner or later some team was going to have a similar reaction to some of Cooke’s shenanigans.  In this case, the Pens were probably lucky that both Crosby and Malkin were already injured because if they had been in the game I’m sure they would have been targeted.

GREAT point!

cs6687 (again):

And if what was for worse was properly handled by the league, incidents like Friday night don’t happen

This, I agree with.

StevieSteve:

I’m going to disagree with this profusely. There is a distinction between dirty or marginal play and barbarism that you are, for some reason, not seeing. It’s the difference between Ryan Hollweg and Chris Simon.

I thought Chris Simon should have been banned for life, for whatever that;s worth.

You’re only seeing what you want to see, then. In the last two years, I’ve seen Steve Downie cold-cock Ovechkin after a hit and try to wrench Crosby’s knee backwards.

And, for comparison’s sake - since my point was that you can’t compare Cooke and Downie at all - what all have we seen Cooke do in that same time frame? I don’t have the time to put together that long a list, myself.

JJ

Posted by Jon Jordan from Tampa, FL on 02/13/11 at 07:51 PM ET

Russian Rocket's avatar

Mentioning Matt Cooke is a straw man argument.  He was not the reason for the Islanders retaliation.  They were embarrassed with their play, the clean and legitimate knockout of their goalie and “Franchise Player”, and a legal hit to Blake Comeau.  If players want to square up and fight for their fallen teammates that is fine.  Running a player, hitting him in the head, taunting him while he’s injured, and sucker punches are not. 

I am a Penguins fan.  I hate what Matt Cooke has done, but using him in this case doesn’t make sense.  Because he is a dirty player does not make what the Islanders did ok and fans should be allowed to gripe.  They are separate cases and should be handled as such.  If you cite Matt Cooke in your defense of the Islanders actions or more likely, your continued dislike and assault of the Penguins you need to reevaluate the circumstances.

Posted by Russian Rocket on 02/13/11 at 07:51 PM ET

redxblack's avatar

Most of the league’s commentators are saying the spark for this was Cooke running DiPeitro.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 02/13/11 at 07:53 PM ET

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Matt Cooke had nothing to do with what happened on Friday.

YES.  THAT IS THE POINT.  Where was The Magnificent One speaking out when Cooke was pulling his shenanigans?

Nowhere?

Yeah, that’s what I thought.  I guess it’s acceptable to repeatedly try to end careers.

Posted by Garth on 02/13/11 at 07:55 PM ET

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if the league wants to be this way, that is fine with the penguins.  Its not like they have anyone who they would want to protect at this point anyways.  If this had been the penguins doing this crap to the capitals and all it cost them was 3 AHL guys getting suspended for a few games, then shit, I would take that any day of the week.

Posted by gretzky_to_lemieux on 02/13/11 at 07:55 PM ET

Jon Jordan's avatar

Russian Rocket:

If you cite Matt Cooke in your defense of the Islanders actions or more likely, your continued dislike and assault of the Penguins you need to reevaluate the circumstances.

I admire and respect the Penguins, for the most part. In fact, I’d prefer to watch them play than any other NHL team, given the chance, the last few seasons.

Never did I say anything that Cooke has done makes what Martin and Gillies did anywhere near okay, nor did I use Cooke to defend any Islander actions. I used Cooke to make the point that Mario needs to look internally before he starts talking about the league making a statement to defend the integrity of the game and the safety of its players.

JJ

Posted by Jon Jordan from Tampa, FL on 02/13/11 at 07:56 PM ET

cs6687's avatar

Most of the league’s commentators are saying the spark for this was Cooke running DiPeitro.

Then most of the league’s commentators are wrong. In the February 2 game, Dipietro left his crease to hit Cooke, which prompted Johnson to one-punch Dipietro. Most of the league’s commentators are speaking out of their ass. The Islanders could’ve manned up and asked Talbot to fight if they had a problem with his clean hit on Comeau, but they tried to sucker punch him. A response that barbaric, by any team, should be condemned, not justified.

Posted by cs6687 on 02/13/11 at 07:56 PM ET

cs6687's avatar

YES.  THAT IS THE POINT.  Where was The Magnificent One speaking out when Cooke was pulling his shenanigans?

There is a difference between overstepping the lines during the game and barbaric retribution. Do people not understand that?

Posted by cs6687 on 02/13/11 at 07:57 PM ET

redxblack's avatar

Never did I say anything that Cooke has done makes what Martin and Gillies did anywhere near okay, nor did I use Cooke to defend any Islander actions. I used Cooke to make the point that Mario needs to look internally before he starts talking about the league making a statement to defend the integrity of the game and the safety of its players.

Standing ovation. Exactly my thoughts.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 02/13/11 at 07:59 PM ET

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And, for comparison’s sake - since my point was that you can’t compare Cooke and Downie at all - what all have we seen Cooke do in that same time frame? I don’t have the time to put together that long a list, myself.

They’re the same type of player. Cooke’s offenses are more frequent, Downie’s tend to be worse, unless you can find video of Matt Cooke breaking a linesman’s foot on purpose because he didn’t like a call.

Posted by StevieSteve on 02/13/11 at 08:00 PM ET

pensfan29's avatar

Most of the league’s commentators are saying the spark for this was Cooke running DiPeitro.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 02/13/11 at 04:53 PM ET

Did you watch that incident? Its clear DP stepped into Cooke. Factchecking is your friend.

Posted by pensfan29 on 02/13/11 at 08:01 PM ET

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Never did I say anything that Cooke has done makes what Martin and Gillies did anywhere near okay, nor did I use Cooke to defend any Islander actions. I used Cooke to make the point that Mario needs to look internally before he starts talking about the league making a statement to defend the integrity of the game and the safety of its players.

It’s a false parallel. If Lemieux had released a statement flying off the handle about Ovechkin kneeing Gonchar, you’d have a point. He didn’t.

Posted by StevieSteve on 02/13/11 at 08:02 PM ET

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I think the key to this is that Mario’s message is right at its core.  We’re spending a lot of time missing that by shooting the messenger. 

I agree, Mario is a hypocrite because his team has a dirty player on it that does bad things, and that player isn’t punished enough for those actions.  I also didn’t like Mario’s overly dramatic threat to leave the league if it’s not fixed.  That is very melodramatic, and is more incendiary than constructive.

However, Mario is still right that Friday’s game was embarassing.  We’ve seen fight nights in the past with tons of penalty minutes that didn’t involve outright cheap-shots, two-on-one fights, or elbows to the head followed by the aggressor taunting the injured while the trainer’s out there helping the guy.

There is a major culture issue that’s widespread throughout the league.  Can anybody name me one NHL franchise that doesn’t have one or two players who have been suspended or fined for a dirty hit?  We all are quick to point out the guys on other teams who have hurt our guys but are plenty willing to forgive our guys for their transgressions as long as it happened last year, or they got their 2-3 game suspension.

In that sense, I agree with the core of Mario’s statement, but I think he’s still blinded to that issue of only bringing it up when his guys are the victims.  We need to see more players banding together against the guys who hurt other players, even when they’re teammates.  We need to see owners and GMs agree that we’d rather see our guy suspended for injuring someone than see someone else get away with injuring our guy.

Ultimately, these hockey players are our heroes but still real people with lives outside the rink.  We should have enough respect for all of them to not want to see them get hurt on dirty and malicious plays.  I want to see all of the world’s best hockey players playing a fast physical game that we all love to see.  That involves body hits, physical play, and respect for opponents that’s missing from these dirty, late, or head hunting hits.

So yeah, I think we should make sure Mario is accountable for this letter by demanding he lead by example and take care of his franchise, while commending him for leading a charge to clean up the league as a whole.  Even if he’s a hypocrite and won’t lead by example, let’s not forget that what he’s saying is important.

Posted by HitokiriEric from Ann Arbor, MI on 02/13/11 at 08:08 PM ET

UMFan's avatar

Its not like the Pens are angels here. Did every freakin player on the ice actually need to join in on a fight? Maybe if the Pens had gotten a little leadership from somebody, they could have gotten a power play or two out of it and could have gotten back in the game and difused the whole situation. They didn’t do that. So I have no sympathy for Mario. None.

And cs6687 is right. Dipietro was the one that wanted to start something stupid. A man as fragile as Dipietro should be trying everything he can to stay off the disabled list, not trying to start someting foolish at the end of a game. He ended up getting what he deserved.

Posted by UMFan from Denver, Colorado on 02/13/11 at 08:21 PM ET

cs6687's avatar

I’m not the only one who believes Lemiux has a point: “Good for (Lemieux),” veteran Bruins player Mark Recchi told Boston reporter Joe Haggerty.” I’m glad he said it because the (NHL sanctions) weren’t strong enough. Not even close.”

Posted by cs6687 on 02/13/11 at 08:34 PM ET

Jon Jordan's avatar

StevieSteve:

It’s a false parallel.

No, it isn’t. Not when the point of Lemieux’s message was about protecting the integrity of the game and the safety of its players and one of his very own is the absolute worst about just that in all the league!

Sorry, dude.

HitokiriEric, you’re too long to quote but dead on. Well done.

UMFan/cs6687:

Dipietro was the one that wanted to start something stupid

This is an absolute truth as well. Still, there was far more between the Isles and Pens that led to Friday night. (There was also frustration on the part of the Islanders stemming from run-ins with other teams as well.)

But there’s no doubting DP acted a fool and got his just due in turn.

JJ

Posted by Jon Jordan from Tampa, FL on 02/13/11 at 08:51 PM ET

Russian Rocket's avatar

JJ,

My comment wasn’t so much directed at you as it was this…

It’s a hilariously hypocritical position.  Do better, Pens fans.  You are embarrassing yourselves.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 02/13/11 at 04:36 PM ET

I should have noted as such.  I don’t blame you for criticizing Lemieux.  That is your opinion.  I do wish he had chose his words better, but I also like that he is an owner who is going to bat for his team. 

Although, we both know teammates and people within the organization subscribe to the hockey code of not badmouthing each other and showing some level of support.  Even if it may be under false pretenses.  Look at GM Chiarelli (SP?) in Boston and his statements about the recent hit one of his players was punished for, which was, ironically, a blindside hit to the head.  It’s the way the league works.  You cover it enough to know this.  I was hoping to see some sort of note of that included in here…. (Ference recently spoke out about the issue above and was chastised for it).

Posted by Russian Rocket on 02/13/11 at 09:12 PM ET

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Pens fans, and specifically cs6687, are being intentionally myopic here.

If the point is that dirty play needs to be stamped out then they (and he) needed to have been far, far, FAR more critical of a player on their very own team who epitomizes that kind of dirty, reckless and dangerous style of play.

Not only haven’t they been, they’ve gone out of their way to defend that guys actions and minimize the effect of his vicious style.

That’s fine, if done in a vacuum.  To defend Cooke and to THEN go on to criticize and lambaste some other team being dirty with them is just plain old fashioned Homerville, USA hypocrisy.

Was what the Islanders did dirty, dangerous and bad for the game?  Of course it was.  Is what Matt Cooke does to players on a regular basis dirty, dangerous, and bad for the game?  Of course it is.  Until Pens fans are able to step up and make both statements they’re just being homers who don’t like to experience what the players on their own team dishes out.

Now, of course the NHL has bungled the punishments for both teams and set the stage for what happened to happen.  That’s what the NHL does.  They bungled things.  They will continue to bungle punishments, just like they’ll continue to bungle CBA’s, franchise relocations, franchise purchases, TV decisions, PR opportunities, marketing strategies, and anything else under the sun.

The NHL’s incompetence in this manner is in no way an excuse for Pens fans to be hypocritically inconsistent with their levels of acceptance of dirty play and dirty players depending on what jersey they happen to be wearing.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 02/13/11 at 09:18 PM ET

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No, it isn’t. Not when the point of Lemieux’s message was about protecting the integrity of the game and the safety of its players and one of his very own is the absolute worst about just that in all the league!

Sorry, dude.

If you can’t see the difference between illegal hockey hits from Cooke, Kaleta, Tootoo (etc.) and thuggery from guys like Josh Gratton, Chris Simon, Trevor Gillies (etc.) it’s because you don’t want to see it. Matt Cooke’s kneeing isn’t so shocking to the senses of human beings that it makes CNN, which the Islanders’ criminality now has.

General managers see the distinction, which is why the first group all collect NHL paychecks and two from the second group are over in Russia mugging people, with Gillies soon to join them.

If Mario is objecting to an apple, you can’t criticize him for not talking about an orange.

Posted by StevieSteve on 02/13/11 at 09:19 PM ET

edillac's avatar

Mario should be quiet; his player plays reckleslsly every game,and he cries about being wronged in one game,bollocks

Posted by edillac from isolation on 02/13/11 at 09:34 PM ET

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