Lemieux Issues Statement About Suspensions
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.