Sunday, February 13, 2011

Lemieux Bashes NHL Response To Debacle: Is He Right, A Hypocrite or Both?

Last night the NHL handed out suspensions to three players and a $100K dollar fine to the New York Islanders for Friday’s debacle.  Today, Mario Lemieux and the Pittsburgh Penguins released a statement in response to the actions the league took. 
Lemieux did not mince words in the statement:
"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.

"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.
"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." 
While I agree with Lemieux that the league did not go far enough, especially in the case of Trevor Gillies there is clearly a level of hypocrisy here from Mario.  He employs Matt Cooke, who is one of the dirtiest players in the game, and you never see Mario say anything about Cooke and his antics.  Now it is uncommon for a coach, general manager or owner to speak out against their own player, but if you are going to keep your mouth closed on those guys, then you should do the same when people cross the line against your guys.
You either play referee and try to call a spade a spade in all circumstances or just keep quiet.