Lemieux Issues Statement About Suspensions

By: Casey Shea

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Suspensions were doled out to three players for their roles in Friday’s brawls on Long Island.

On Sunday afternoon, Mario Lemieux weighed in and he is upset with message the league is sending.

In a statement posted on the Penguins’ official website, Lemieux said the league had a chance to send a message and they failed to do so.

The full statement reads:

“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.”

New York’s Trevor Gillies received a nine-game suspension, while Matt Martin only got a four-game ban.

Gillies’ suspension stems from a deliberate and direct blow to the head of Eric Tangradi in the third period. He then started to throw punches at Tangradi as he was falling to the ice. Officials escorted him to the doorway to the locker room tunnel, where he stood and appeared to be taunting the injured Penguin forward.

In the second period, Martin attempted to land a sucker-punch on Max Talbot at center ice. Talbot ducked out of the way, but Martin stood over him and continued to throw punches.

Pittsburgh’s Eric Godard was suspended for 10 games. By rule, his suspension was automatic after leaving the bench to engage in a fight.

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

  • Shelly

    I didn’t get to watch the game, but I watched the video on another site. It was a truly disgusting display. Reminded me of the movie Slap Shot. That wasn’t hockey and isn’t what hockey is all about.

    • max s

      i think the penguins should protest the suspension and agread with mario lemiexu new yorkers are nothing but drity players.

  • Bills

    When we pay to see a competition between two professional teams of athletes, we’re not paying to see back-alley goons and bums street fighting. If you want to do that, you don’t belong with professionals. Go to the Southside, get pig drunk and fight it out in the allies, like a lowlife! The guys who do that at professional events are BUMS!

  • Joel

    I totally agree with Lemieux’s comments. The league officials are to blame for the sport getting totally out of control on the fighting. This league is more like a bunch of gang wars instead of a professional sport. Clean it up! Stop the blatant fightling.

  • Mike

    Trevor Gillies should be suspended for the rest of the year. He alone has to be accountable for his actions. When a player taunts an injured player, he shows no respect for the game.Garth Snow needs to send him to anger management sessions. Gillies is a real classless person, a jerk.

  • Bills

    The officials are only partly responsible. Most of the blame goes to the athletes that engage in fighting behavior. These are not child athletes, they are adults, to be held culpable for their own behavior. Let’s not try to pass the buck and point blame at other parties.

  • Geraldo

    the great thing to come out of this is that there is a reason to get fired up for Islanders games for the next 4-5 years.

  • GrafixEffexs

    That was the best photograph you could find of the ‘Great One’?

  • Dan

    Didn’t MARIO invent hockey??? If he didn’t he should of…hes the greatest ever!

  • robert

    The National Hockey League sent the Penguins this very same message all year round. The league feels that we are privilaged to have Crosby, so we should be punished for it, too. In other words: cuase Penguins is NOT, the Oilers, the Flames, or the Red Wings. We don’t deserve to win or to have Crosby. So, they will not protect him the same as they did Gretsky. This is the same for the other team members, as it was the same for Lemieux. So, the NHL officials wont care if Crosby ever returns. Why should they care if Bret Johnson or Tangradi was injured for any period of time. All I can say is thank you to Eric Godard for sacrficing himself to protect his team mate. Cause the NHL officals are NEVER going to respect the players as the fans. I am 33, still playing hockey and have a great love for the sport. Something the NHL officials will never have.

    • James Gallagher

      Robert you hit the nail on the head PERFECTLY

  • castnbash

    a pathetic display of professionalism and an even more pathetic response by its league

    Mario is 100% dead on with his comments

  • http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2011/02/13/former-penguin-weighs-in-on-lemieux%e2%80%99s-statement/ Former Pittsburgh Penguins' Right Winger Jay Caufield Weighs In On Islanders' Game, NHL Response & Lemieux’s StatementCBS Pittsburgh

    […] Lemieux’s statement, he called Friday night’s game a “travesty” that was “painful to watch.” Lemieux said the […]

  • JA

    Just for kicks – Here’s a blog from a Canucks reporter in Canada… even they don’t agree with what happened on Long Island.

    “In the aftermath of the Islanders/Penguins brouhaha on Friday night, the NHL decided to issue suspensions to Eric Godard (10 games), Trevor Gillies (9 games) and Matt Martin (4 games). They also fined the Islanders organization $100,000….

    Yesterday, Penguins’ owner Mario Lemieux issued (a) statement….

    When I first heard of the suspensions the other night, my first thought was along the same lines as Mario’s – that it wasn’t enough.

    What the Islanders did in that game weren’t hockey plays; they were plays made with the intent to exact their pound of flesh and injure their opponents.

    First, Martin suckerpunched Maxime Talbot (4:43 mark of the video). The two were nowhere near the play and there’s not much argument that Martin meant to do anything but get Talbot. Canucks fans will, unfortunately, remember Todd Bertuzzi’s suckerpunch on Steve Moore, and except for the fact that Talbot was lucky enough to not be seriously injured, this incident looks similar.

    Next, Gillies charged and delivered a blindside hit at Eric Tangradi’s head with his elbow (5:40 mark). He proceeded to deliver punches to the already obviously hurt Tangradi. And while Tangradi was being attended to by medical personnel, you see Gillies taunting him from a few feet away. Tangradi hasn’t played since.

    While all of this is going on, Michael Haley, who had just finished a fight against Talbot, instead of leaving the ice went straight for goaltender Brent Johnson (6:30 mark). In his first callup this season, this Haley kid sure showed how tough he is.

    I dare anyone to accept what Martin, Gillies and Haley did as part of the game.

    There are some of you out there who think that Lemieux was out-of-line with his comments. But while Lemieux’s message may be muddied because he has Matt Cooke, generally acknowledged as the league’s dirtiest player, on his payroll, it doesn’t make him wrong. (For the record, remember that I questioned the NHL’s handling of Cooke just last week.)

    After all, there isn’t anything wrong with tough, physical hockey. That said, there is everything wrong when players go on the ice for the sole purpose of hurting other players.

    When Bertuzzi hit Moore, the NHL suspended him for the rest of the 2003/2004 regular season and the playoffs. They barred him from playing in Europe or participating in the World Cup and World Hockey Championships. They didn’t reinstate him for 17 months.

    At the time, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said, “”This is not a part of our game, it has no place in our game, and it will not be tolerated in our game.”

    Well, neither were the incidents from Friday. But based on the league’s (lack of) response, they may as well be.”

  • http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2011/02/16/shea-ved-ice-lemieuxs-statement-draws-line-in-sand/ Shea-ved Ice: Lemieux’s Statement Draws Line In Sand « CBS Pittsburgh

    […] we still be talking about the incident this much had Mario Lemieux not issued a stern statement about the state of the […]

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