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Bettman Won’t Publicly Debate Lemieux’s Comments

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Gary Bettman

(Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

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TAMPA, Fla. (KDKA/AP) – NHL commissioner Gary Bettman released a statement on Thursday in response to Mario Lemieux’s comments about the state of the game.

Last Friday, the Penguins and Islanders were involved in a fight-filled game that resulted in 65 penalties that totaled 346 minutes, including 10 ejections. There were also 15 fighting majors and 20 misconducts.

The NHL responded by suspending two Islander forwards, Matt Martin and Trevor Gillies as well as Penguins’ forward Eric Godard.

Martin received a four-game suspension and Gillies received nine games. The league also fined the Islanders $100,000. Godard received an automatic 10-game suspension for coming off the bench to join a fight.

After the punishment, Lemieux released a statement saying the NHL failed in its punishment and questioned his future involvement with the league.

In his statement, Bettman said, “I have the utmost respect and regard for Mario Lemieux, but we’re not going to engage in a public debate on this.”

“We are very comfortable with the way the league responded to Friday night’s game.”

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