For those you who have been living in a shell for the past week, and didn't catch the fiasco that unfolded on Long Island Friday night, there has been quite a buzz amongst the NHL brass, Penguin ownership and Long Island "faithful". While not recounting the sequence of events (just google search Islanders Penguins Fight for a recap), the NHL has handed out it's disciplinary action.
Ten players were ejected with 346 penalty minutes assessed. The NHL suspended two of the Islanders players – Trevor Gillies for nine games for elbowing a Penguins player in the head while he was down and Matt Martin for four games for repeatedly punching a Penguins player from behind. One Penguin player, Eric Godard, was suspended for 10 games for leaving the bench to fight, but the additional fines or "mandatory one game suspension" for the Penguins coach was "rescinded" by the NHL.
As the Dust settled, Pengins owner, Mario Lemieux, took it upon himself to blast the NHL, experssing his frustration. http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/penguins/s_722716.html The NHL response was virtually, "no comment".
Is it just me, or does this whole thing resemble watching incompetant parents try to deal with a spoiled kid thowing a temper tantrum? In part, I want to sit back and just watch, but mostly I want to tell both sides this has been a long time coming. Most fans outside of Pitt are pretty tired of the NHL forcing Sidney Crosby down out throats. Even the Pitt media found it amazing how much national coverage their team garners.
Is it coincidence that Mairo goes on a rant when his team was penalized less than they probably deserved? Could it be the same coincidence that his "star player" whines to the officiating so often that I've heard the majority of his "mic-ed up" bits are unusable as they would tarnish the NHL image? In no way do I condone the actions of several Islander players; kind of in the same way I don't condone the NHL's repeated handling of Matt Cooke. Remember, among other things, he's the guy that may or may not have run Dipietro 3 times back in October. So in a meaningless blowout game, maybe Dipietro pulled a little Fleury last week, but didn't take a dive as Cooke skated by. Maybe if the league took care of Cooke back in October, the animosity wouldn't be boiling. Maybe the first brawl would'nt have started and the second would have no fire. (I was going to say maybe Diepitro wouldn't be hurt right now, but who are we kidding?)
I'll bet there are several teams itching to do what the Isles just did. I'll be they just wish Cooke was still in the line-up. Finally, I'll just say back to Mario - Shut up. Take your little piece of pie from the NHL and swallow your empty threats. A wise man once told me "you may love your job, but don't for a minute think your job loves you". If he quits, or sells the franchise, someone else will fill the void and the machine will run on; maybe better - Unless, of course, your name is Al Arbour.