Former Penguin Weighs In On Lemieux’s Statement

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A buzz was created across the hockey world Sunday when Penguins’ legend Mario Lemieux issued a statement on the brawls that broke out during Friday’s game against the New York Islanders.

Now, Jay Caufield, a former Penguin with close ties to Lemieux, is also weighing on the controversy.

Caufield played with the Pens for five seasons. He also played for the New York Rangers and the Minnesota North Stars, so he has perspective on the issue of fights and the reaction to them on the ice.

In Lemieux’s statement, he called Friday night’s game a “travesty” that was “painful to watch.” Lemieux said the NHL had a chance to send a message and failed to do so.

“Two best players, Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux; you talk about some of the best players who ever played the game,” said Caufield. “When someone like that as an owner speaks about this game, then yeah, they are going to listen to it.”

Lemieux’s statement called for the NHL to protect the integrity of the game and the safety of the players, as well as meaningful disciplinary actions.

“The NHL can’t handle that type of atmosphere throughout the league. I think he had enough of it,” Caufield said. “He’s an owner of a team, doesn’t want to see it played that way, and there are certain parts of the game that you’ll never get rid of, but what happened in that game was over the top. I know he doesn’t want to see that.”

But will all this discussion change the future of the game?

“When there’s a hit and somebody’s penalized and sometimes another guy is not or there’s suspensions, I think he wants to see it be concrete,” Caufield added. “When something comes up, lay the law down so you don’t have what happened take place in a type of game like that.”

The NHL says the punishments handed out were designed to send a message that targeting the head of an opponent will be dealt with by suspensions.

For more on the Penguins, visit the Shea-ved Ice Blog.

  • LB

    first I like Maro very much BUT HE IS A HYPOCRITE , HIS TEAM LEADS THE LEAGUE in Penalty minutes and fights , Matt Cooke who I like as a person off the ice is a cheap shot artist and although his hit last year was considered legal in some circles he has just about ended Marc savard’s career , switch that scenario last year and Pgh fans would have been up in arms , also Cooke went after ovechkin’s knee last week and in the next game was lucky he didn’t break fedor toutons neck with another dirty hit , so as Bob Smizik said on KDKA TONIGHT dont throw rocks in a glass house , does the game need some changes yes But dont employ 2 of the leagues heavyweights and matt Cooke if you want people to take your words serious , by the way i AM A SEASON TICKET HOLDER WHO SPLITS the season , and a die hard pens fan , also at the game against Buffallo in the Pens jumbo tron they showed the fight before the game of Brent Johnson . cant have it both ways

    • Scott

      Matt Cooke had nothing to do with what transpired between the Pens and Isles. It’s an irrelevant analogy. Talbot laid a clean hit on Comeau; but the Isles didn’t let it go. Not only did the Isles attack Talbot, they repeatedly attacked him instead of just going after him once and letting it go. A classless response; their coach, that pig Capuano, deserved to be suspended as well.

      Smizik knows nothing about hockey, by the way.

    • NG

      LB if you are so well versed in hockey and know what calls for a suspension and what doesn’t as well as what constitutes a dirty hit and what doesn’t then why aren’t u in the league’s front office, oh wait, that’s it, your nothing more than one season ticket holder who probably never put on a pair of skates and the game is much better off because of it. If there were less bandwagon fans like yourself then ppl like me who are less fortunate but actually play the sport on a regular basis would still be able to attend a game without having to make a life altering decision. Don’t accidently fall off and hurt yourself…

    • JA

      To say that Mario is a hypocrit is just obsurd. I understand why you think that but you aren’t comparing things the right way. The Pens may lead the league in fighting major penalties but none of those fights this season have looked anything like what happened on Long Island the other night. Those weren’t hits, they were cheap shots. They were retaliation for DiPietro’s face… plain and simple. They went above and beyond what a hockey fight constitutes. What happened on Long Island was not hockey it was head hunting.

  • jon

    LB, there is a difference between fighting and what took place on Friday night. Taking 6 or 7 strides then leaping off your skates to elbow someone then pound on them as they are obviously hurt is as bush league as you can get. Having Matt Cooke on your team does not justify what went down on Friday. Yes, Cooke has had several borderline and some cheap shots but he has never ever stood over an opponent and mocked them. Smizek is a moron but not as big as a moron as those clowns on the channel 4 show. Those knuckleheads want to throw fighting out of the game but do not realize that if you do that then the stick work becomes Tavares like.

  • joe

    The NHL should have took the same steps that they took on todd bertuzii when he threw the viciouse sucker punch. Martin was obviously trying to hurt talbot and there is no place in the game for that. And then the NHL goes onto to give him 4 games if i remeber correct. and then the hit on tangradi was just utter asault!!! If he was concused after that elbow to the head and then if he took a couple good blows to the head, who knows what could have happend to him. I also find it very annoying that Godard got 10 games for his actions and martin and gillei only got 4 and 9 games. The NHL is turning into the NFL and its getting ridiculous…

  • TK

    there is a difference between fights brawls LB. hockey is physical and your not going to stop “questionable hits” no team in the NHL is free of having a player that makes dirty plays. its just how the sport is, and all sports to be honest. Lemieux was arguing about the all about the all out brawls.

  • NG

    jon thank you for making an educated comment, I can’t believe what some ppl have to say on here!

  • Mon River Towing

    nobody likes the suckerpunches and the cheap shots but its an emotional game and a physical game and it just so happens everybody is carrying around 6 feet of easy- to-swing lumber. Stuff happens. It’s part of the risk of playing in a competitive environment. A risk the players are well aware of and that’s why these athletes are paid so well. High-risk deserves high-reward.

    The league will punish those that need punished and it is imperative the suspensions/fines are consistent. Maybe more mandatory suspensions like Godard’s need to be implimented. Nobody is crying foul about Godard because he knew when he jumped over the boards it was 10 games in the press box automatic.

  • Mon River Towing

    PS: This Pens/Isles game was the exception to the norm. 1 of 10,000. The typical game is great. It doesnt need big fixes, or any fixes really. Lets just move on. Hockey without fights would suck. Isnt it bad enough that half the fans in the crowd are kids and soccer moms? Who let them in? Really? Who started doing this nonsense? They are who should be fined and suspended. If you want to change something about hockey how about you have to be 16 to get a seat.

    • get real

      Is this tow truck driver serious? ha ha what a moron! Go back to China you communist.

  • Jack Beiber


  • RF

    Cooke is often brought up to disarm Mario’s statements as hypocritical. However, Cooke’s job is very difficult. He is to be such a pain to the opponent that they get angry and start making mistakes. He is not out there to goon the opponent as the Islanders did with clear, and only, intent to injure in an ill-advised attempt to get even for some perceived liberty taken on them.

  • Carrie Girton Walters

    It has nothing to do thefights people.. It is the Blind side hits and head shots.. The intent to injure someone.. You will have the fighting taken out of hockey… They are trying to prevent concussions… Matt Cooke is like the James Harrison of football he is the one who is going to get caught fined and suspended it is ok for other people to do just not certain ones.. This my frilends is Mario’s point be consistent to all players and teams for these blows to the head or intent to injure calls Not who feel like calling it on.. The NHL keeps doing that someone is going to end up dead or paralyzed….I see Mario’s point… Think about it people.

  • St.Pierre

    Mario has every right to be concerned. His team is rapidly being depleaded due to this years increase of mediocre players being brought up to play in the NHL.
    The NHL knows it and has tried to increase viewership by marketing the “classics” (Winter and Heritage) along with the 24-7. The league is in big trouble and the biggest reason is because of the clowns in the front office. Colin Campbell needs to be removed immediately but that won’t happen. Notice that his son’s team (Bruins) have been one of the dirtiest teams and there was no suspensions in the Montreal game last week that was just as bad as the Pens/Isles game. Nobody is talking about that game. Sad!! (and the Pens are 1st in penalty minutes b/c most teams are after them)

  • You're Stupid

    Really? What the heck is wrong with you? Ive been going to 10 games (if not more) a year since I was one! How could you put an age limit on hockey game attendees? Moron- I think so.

    • Yough River Towing

      What kind of an a-hole would buy a ticket for a 1-year old? Don’t your parents have any friends? Since they have money to burn I suppose they could buy them too.

  • KKnox60

    What made it worse, when the camera got a shot of the Islanders coach, and the moron is standing there with a smile on his ugly puss !

  • Bill

    As a native New Yorker and Isles fan that transplanted to this area in ’95 and now back the Pens, I see both sides of the issue. That game Friday night makes me embarrassed to ever have been an Isles fan and I get the backlash from current Isles fans calling Cooke an assassin. Cooke is like Sean Avery, when he’s on your team you love him, not on your team you hate him. He does do things outside the rules to agitate. As far as Lemieux employing enforcers, EVERY team who has won the Cup has done it with enforcers to protect their stars. Pens had Sammuelson and McSorley to protect Mario and Jagr, Isles had Howatt, Nystrom, and Gillies to protect Trottier and Bossy. Not to mention McSorley was Gretzky’s wingman as well.

    When Crosby comes back, either this year or next, No doubt the next time they play the Isles, blood will be spilled to protect them.

  • Nitrojunkie

    I was born & raised in the Pittsburgh area and still live there today.Hey KKnox60, I guess it was OK for Pens players to laugh (on Jumbotron) when Johnson broke Dipeitro’s face. Mario should buy some cheese to go with his whine and go back across the border where he belongs..

  • Bob Lozano

    Lemieux is a baby. Now his boy Crosby is faking injuries just like Lemieux did.

  • Ted

    Dipietro, call out to Johnson to fight, and he got clocked. I would laugh too
    Dipietro was smiling when he got nailed, But what the Isles did was cowardous. Take somebody head on if you have a problem!! Not do what they did, also got to stop these hits behind the plays, Steckel’s hit should have never happened!!

  • Bob Lozano

    A bunch of hypocrites…if Cooke took out the world’s best player, Ovie in their last meeting (with a knee)…yinzer nation would consider it justification for Crosby’s mystery concussion.

  • Theresa

    Hey the idiot who called Mario a baby. You are yet probably another season ticket holder who thinks he knows i every thing there is to know about hockey. I can’t even believe you put your last name on the email. It is people like you that have no clue what THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT!!!! I think Mario know a little more than you do about the league and hockey for that matter so why don’t all you haters shut the hell up!!!!! If Mario makes a comment it is in the best interest of the league and hockey because once again he was an NHL hockey player and you are not or were ever!!!!!!!

    • Bob Lozano

      Theresa – I am sure you are one of those jumbos that still wear Jagr’s jersey. I guess Mario is now EF Hutton when he whines the NHL should listen.

  • JW

    The islanders were defending 2 of their players, one being DiPietro. What is lost here is that DiPietro brought his broken jaw on himself. Isn’t he the root cause of all of this? If I recall correctly, it was him putting the lumber to Matt Cooke’s head that led to Johnson coming after him. Was there not intent to injure with that move. The NHL won’t suspend him because he got what he had coming and was “suspendend” by Johnson. The garbage that went on Friday was clearly premedidated by calling up players and having them do what they did. That way, none of their “top” players get in trouble with the league. That isn’t hockey nor is it part of the process of getting even or defending players. It was clear intent to injure at all costs. The NHL was afraid to suspend any of the Islanders more than 10 games because they want to take the stance that leaving the bench is more of a crime than deliberately trying to injure someone, especially with a blow to the head. Who are the HYPOCRITES??

    • Bob Lozano

      Come on, man!

  • Duh

    Bob, Last i checked Crosby and Cooke are on the same team so unless it was an accident he couldn’t take out the worlds best player.

    Also, Cooke got penalized for that hit, are you forgetting the same hit Ovie put on Gonch in the playoffs. Ovie has a history of doing so just look up knee on knee and you’ll find a ton of vids so you tell me your “worlds best player” is innocent.

    • Bob Lozano

      Lets see..Malkin out, Crosby out, Ovie…the world’s best player. DUH

      • Duh

        So just because they are injured they dont count. Take another 20 minutes to come up with a reply, and try harder this time.

  • Bob Lozano

    Apologizes…Orr is the world’s best player. It doesn’t matter that he doesn’t paly anymore. No wonder why you use DUH, you are stewpid.

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