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Mario Lemieux doesn’t pull punches with statement regarding Isles-Pens situation

Feb 13, 2011, 2:34 PM EDT

Mario Lemieux AP

When people compare Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux, one of the most common criticisms of “Super Mario” is the notion that he wasn’t an “ambassador” for the game.

That doesn’t mean that the Hall of Famer went through his NHL career without uttering a word, as he was a notable critic of the league’s “clutch and grab” era. The Pittsburgh Penguins’ partial owner showed that he can speak outside of platitudes and cliches when he released a resounding statement moments ago regarding the ugly New York Islanders-Penguins game from Friday.

Lemieux apparently isn’t satisfied with the suspensions and fines levied by the league against the Islanders. (To refresh your memory, the NHL suspended Trevor Gillies for nine games and Matt Martin for four while handing the Islanders a $100,000 fine.)

While many of the Penguins’ critics will linger on the fact that they employ Matt Cooke, it’s a refreshingly candid take in an atmosphere in which press releases are usually as bland as rice cakes. Here is Lemieux’s full statement, via the Penguins:

“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.”

Well, tell us how you really feel, Mario.

  1. ihateannouncers - Feb 13, 2011 at 2:48 PM

    Well said Mario…..cue the Matt Cooke comments in 3..2..1…

    • stakex - Feb 14, 2011 at 12:57 PM

      Sure! Didn’t see Sir CrysAlot telling the NHL that Cooke should have been suspended after the Savard hit did we? What about any of Cookes other offenses over the last few years? How about any of Malkin or Crysbys slew foots? Never seen anything complaints when the league didn’t take action against those did we?

      Seriously, Lemieux was one tough player… but man, he whined(s) almost as much as Crosby does. He should do the hockey world a favor and get lost.

  2. youthoughtyouhaditbad - Feb 13, 2011 at 3:17 PM

    2/6/2003. Mario Lemieux goes nutso, racks up 29 PIM in one set of circumstances. Slashes, Instigates, Fights, comes back to fight again when he had been ejected…

    Glass houses.

    • ihateannouncers - Feb 14, 2011 at 3:32 AM

      Really?? What were the circumstances you are referencing? Did he elbow a guy to the head, continue to punch him in the head as he goes down to the ice, and taunt him as he is being looked at by the medical staff?? Did he sucker punch a guy FROM BEHIND, or throw the gloves off and go after a goalie?? Your glass house defense is weak at best.

  3. aceburgh - Feb 13, 2011 at 3:28 PM

    Ya I guess because Matt Cooke makes some dirty hits and gets suspended. That gives the right to another player to hit someone from behind and punch them when they are hurt laying on the ground. Then stand there and taunt them while a team physician tends to them.

    Islander proved only these things. 1. There goalie has a glass jaw. 2. There so bad and low rent, they don’t even care to miss games due to suspensions. 3. They are not very tough, resorting to hits from behind and sucker punch’s.

    At least Matt Cooke would not be afraid to fight someone straight up as opposed to talking trash to a guy laying on the ice.

    • aschwartz2011 - Feb 13, 2011 at 4:18 PM

      I agree that the Cooke antics don’t justify these actions. But you must be high if you think that Cooke mans up. He is as dirty as they come. Whether it be the cheap shot on Vincent Lecavlier a few years ago or the sucker punches this season, he has shown time and time again that he has no concern for the physical well being of any of his opponents.

      • aceburgh - Feb 13, 2011 at 4:22 PM

        to be honest the only thing that really bothered me is when the Pens player was down injured, Gilles tried to fight him and then taunted him as he lay injured. Its man law once your adversary cant fight back anymore you let it go…..or go find someone who can defend them self to beat on

    • nynewsblob - Feb 13, 2011 at 4:48 PM

      Last time Cooke fought someone straight up, they had to scrape him off the ice when evander kane was done with him

    • stakex - Feb 14, 2011 at 12:59 PM

      Cooke might not trash talk someone on the ice… but hes a chicken **** when it comes to a standup fight.

  4. cerranoham - Feb 13, 2011 at 3:47 PM

    i sincerely doubt that super mario would have made the same comments had his team administered the ass-kicking instead of taking it on friday night.

  5. aceburgh - Feb 13, 2011 at 4:06 PM

    Actually when it was a fight the Penguins won, the only thing the Islanders did was yell at an injured player as he lay on the ice. Unless you count the sucker punch as kicking ass? Then you probably think Gilles is a bad ass for yelling at an injured player. hahaha

    Just a tip for the Islanders if you want send a message, call out a guy who is on his feet to fight you — not laying on the ice injured. It will do wonders for your tough guy status.

  6. briofny - Feb 13, 2011 at 11:12 PM

    Being objective Gillies and Martin were cheap shot, but as usual the better teams are protected. Cooke should have been suspended a game, Johnson and Fluery laughing at Dipi (who is a joke) is just prodding a rabid dog. Islanders controlling their team? Well why arent the Pens fined for letting Goddard of the bench. Its amazing how when a dirty team (the Pens) are exposed by the same tactics they use they cry all the way home….must be a Pittsburgh thing, sounds like the Steelers.

    • ihateannouncers - Feb 14, 2011 at 3:21 AM

      Same tactics??? Can you give one example of the Penguins tactics that gets near the garbage that the isles put out the other night?? And no, Matt Cookes’ hits are not team tactics. Gilles and Martins hits were not just cheap shots, they were evidence that the isles pregame plan was to injure / hurt as many of the Pens as possible (especially Talbot). Add bringing up goon Haley the day of the game to the discussion as well. Oh and leave the Steelers out of it….makes you sound like a crybaby jets fan.

  7. Rosenthals Speling Instrukter - Feb 14, 2011 at 9:32 AM

    This guy signed Cooke to an extension after he basically ended someones career with a cheap shot. So when he talks about how the game should be played it kind of shows he is not sincere or that he finally has adapted the attitude of that crappy city.

  8. stakex - Feb 14, 2011 at 1:10 PM

    This is just more whining from the king of the whine.

    I’m not condoning what happened during that Isles-Pens game. Not at all. However, Lemieux has supported a team that has had more then its fair share of dirty play and horrible cheap shots over the last few years… and instead of doing anything about it, he re-signed Cooke after he all but ended Savards career. On top of that, his “star” player gets the Michael Jordan treatment when it comes to favorable penelty calls, nasty slewfoots, and blatent dives. Lets also not forget that Malkin has had a few nasty, and almost certainly suspendable slewfoots over the last few years… yet nothing for the league. So Lemieux is willing to accept the leagues lack of action when its in his favor, but be damned if another team finally puts his team in its place? Give me a break.

    Again, the Isles-Pit game went to far, and Gillies really looked like an ass yelling at a clearly hurt player on the ice. Hes serving a NINE game suspension for the elbow he threw, which is a very lengthy suspension. Its not like the NHL ignored it or anything… they gave out a very stiff suspension. Where is Pits fine for allowing a player the leave the bench and join in an on-going fight? Oh yeah, there wasn’t one. How about a Bylsman suspension for being able to control his players on the bench? Oh yeah, there isn’t one even though it was a clear option in the rule book.

    Again though, there were three suspensions that totaled 23 games. Thats not a small number… I really don’t know what more this whine job wants the league to do. Yes, perhaps the coaches should have been fined and suspended a few games… but the leagues not going to do that to its poster boy team. In fact, the reason the penelties were not worse was almost certainly because the league didn’t want to come down harder on Pittsburgh. So again, Lemieux needs to shut it and move on.

    • ihateannouncers - Feb 15, 2011 at 3:15 AM

      The league watched the game and made its decision based on the facts of the game and not emotion which it seems most posters on this site cannot seperate. If you love the Pens you will defend them and if you hate them you will bash them with every hate-filled Crosby / Cooke reference you can make up. The facts are the Isle’s used extreme measures to retaliate for a questionable side hit to Blake Comeau, and the jaw breaking punch that Brent Johnson landed on Dipietro. Anyone who watched the game saw the ridiculous goonery of Martin, Gilles, AND Haley. The league saw the garbage they were pulling and acted accordingly. They saw Goddard leave the bench to protect his goalie from a goon when the referees couldn’t. Once again if you watched the game you saw the Isle’s were trying to go after Fleury as well, which is why Bylsma replaced him with the already pulled Brent Johnson. You can hate Crosby and Lemieux all you want but the Isle’s went way beyond what is normal for Hockey and the league and anybody who saw the game knows it.

  9. guypatsfan - Feb 15, 2011 at 9:06 AM

    Guys like Cooke have always been around – Dale Hunter comes to mind. Time to take care of them the old-fashioned way – a good beatdown or two by the league’s tough guys followed by a stern warning from them.

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