Lemieux doesn’t hold back in blasting NHL

Mario Lemieux was anything but his quiet reserved self on Sunday when he didn’t hold anything back in criticizing the NHL for, in his view, going easy on dishing out punishment to the New York Islanders, stemming from their Friday night brawl with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Lemieux, who scored 690 goals and 1,723 points in his hall of fame career, was also upset that this game, which had 346 penalty minutes called, got so completely out of hand. “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,” said Lemieux, who is the co-owner of 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.” This game, which the Islanders won 9-3, also had 10 ejections, 15 fighting majors and 20 misconducts. Lemieux was especially upset that Trevor Gillies and Matt Martin were only suspended for nine and four games. Gillies, who only averages about three minutes per game, was suspended for hitting an unsuspecting Eric Tangradi into the boards and giving him a concussion. With the Penguins’ player injured, Gillies began throwing punches and wouldn’t let up. Meanwhile, Martin sucker punched Penguins’ super pest, Maxime Talbot, from behind. “The NHL had a chance to send a clear and strong message that those kinds of actions are unacceptable and embarrassing to the sport. “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”, said Lemieux.

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