Now that his Penguins were part of an embarrassing league-wide spectacle this weekend, Pittsburgh owner Mario Lemieux has had enough of the buffoonery that occasionally takes place on NHL ice.In his tirade, Lemieux didn’t mention that he employs the most-penalised and most-pugilistic team in the league, in addition to its dirtiest player. No, his own team’s dirty play didn’t cross his mind until after the Islanders and Penguins clashed on Friday night and produced a whopping 346 penalty minutes. The lack of justice after Friday’s brawls made Lemieux decide that his team had been wronged. Now that there was national attention on his team, and the Islanders, for acting like idiots, Lemieux decided to speak up.
Maybe this was brewing in Lemieux for a long while, and maybe not. We know that he’s spoken out on the rough-housing that often overshadows skill-hockey before, but not much recently as an owner.
If you ask us, Lemieux is speaking out of frustration. He’s lost his golden-boy captain and saviour , Sidney Crosby to a concussion and also lost his other superstar, Evgeni Malkin to injury for the season.
Those injuries may have played a small role in Lemieux’s outburst. Lemieux is right that occasionally there are ridiculous acts on the ice. But his demands for change are the same as anyone’s about any subject when it suddenly hits home.
Most people primarily care about major world issues only when they begin to directly affect them. When someone’s family member incurs an awful rare disease, that person begins to care deeply about researching a cure. The same goes for daily atrocities that occur in other parts of the world. For the most part, when they’re overseas, they’re out of mind, but as soon as something happens to us, we’re ready to react. That’s how humans are programmed.
Obviously Lemieux’s whining about NHL rules isn’t on the scale of these two examples, but he’s throwing a fit now because this has hit home for him. Things like this will happen in sports every once in a blue moon, but until they’re regular occurrences there isn’t a need for change. We didn’t hear Lemieux threatening to resign two months ago when his Penguins were league leaders in breaking the rules and Crosby was healthy. Just this weekend, after the Islanders were mean to his players and not punished severely enough.
So Mario, spare us your whining. Brawls that total over 300 penalty minutes don’t happen every night, or every year in the NHL. They’re incredibly rare, and just because your roster is now deplete of its elite players, and your un-skilled bunch of hoodlums were involved in a melee, doesn’t mean this is an epidemic. If Lemieux really wants to see change, maybe he should stat by re-making his own roster first.
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