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Monday February 14, 2011 7:45 pm

Mario Lemiuex speaks out about ‘travesty’ in NHL




Posted by Adrien Griffin Categories: Athletes, NHL,

Mario LemieuxOn Sunday, Mario Lemieux added his voice to the growing number of those who are seemingly upset with the current regime controlling the NHL. Whether you think it’s a problem that Lemieux is only publically coming out now that it’s his Penguins under attack or whether you think he’s a hypocrite in decrying the amount of NHL goonery going on while employing Matt Cooke is irrelevant. When Mario Lemieux speaks, everybody shut up and listen.

League disciplinarian Colin Campbell gave Islanders forwards Trevor Gillies and Matt Martin got nine- and four-game suspensions respectively for, in his own words, deliberately attempting to injure, then gave Eric Godard of the Penguins a 10-game suspension for leaving the bench, simply because it’s in the rule book. Does anybody else see the imbalance here? Also, the Islanders organization was fined $100,000. That sure makes sense. The Islanders are going to lose millions of dollars by season’s end. How does the NHL expect to collect this fine? They’ll collect it after the other teams in the league share their revenues.

Perhaps the biggest reason why radical change has not yet taken hold in the NHL is because of this unwritten “code of conduct” among players. But now that Sidney Crosby, Andrew Ference and Lemieux have called out the NHL in some form regarding what it believes to be popular in the public eye, it’s time for Gary Bettman and co. to do something about it; to say more than “we’ve looked into it and everything’s okay,” because that’s just not working anymore.

Players can’t even make a clean hit without having to expect some form of retaliation anymore. Everything is an affront to everyone. The players “code” stems back from the days of the NHL’s infancy, yet everybody’s willing to admit that today’s game isn’t the same as even the pre-lockout years. Why the league seems reluctant to truly explore ways to eliminate dangerous and unnecessary play(er)s while maintaining an aggressive game is frustrating, yet while Bettman and Campbell continue to hold all of the power, nothing will change.

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