Mario Lemieux on Sunday expressed his strongest statements against the league since when he railed against the clutch-and-grab hockey of the 1990s as a player.
Now the owner of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Lemieux lashed out for what he believed were light penalties to New York Islander players in the aftermath of a Friday game in which there were 346 penalty minutes, 10 ejections, 15 fighting majors and 20 misconducts.
The NHL suspended New York forwards Trevor Gillies (nine games) and Matt Martin (four games) and hit the team with a $100,000 US fine. League disciplinarian Colin Campbell said in his ruling that the Gillies and Martin hits on Maxime Talbot and Eric Tangradi, respectively, were deliberate attempts to injure.
For Lemieux, there was a disconnect between that admission and the penalties meted out.
"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," Lemieux said. "It was painful to watch the game I love turn into a sideshow like that."
Lemieux wasn't done:
"We must make it clear that those kinds of actions will not be tolerated and will be met with meaningful disciplinary action," and, "If the events relating to Friday night reflect the state of the league, I need to rethink whether I want to be a part of it."
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