Yes, Mr. Mario, I have a follow-up

How about that hockey game on Friday?!

No, I mean really? How about it? How did that happen? Why did that happen? What does it MEAN?!

I was at Chachi Plays for Kids during the game and found out via Twitter what had gone down. My initial reaction was LOL, but then I was all WTF?

I am good with words, n’at.

I wrote about the brawl over at Pittsburgh Magazine and here’s a snippet:

When the dust settled, the barroom doors no longer swinging, the blood cleaned up, the wounds stitched and the egos nursed, the Pen’s Godard was automatically suspended for ten games for leaving the player’s bench to fight (a big no-no), while two of the Islanders were suspended, and the entire Islanders organization fined $100,000.

And then on Sunday, like a lighting bolt from the sky, like a puck to the teeth, like the angry voice of God coming down from the Mount, Mario Lemieux issued a statement to the press. And Mario was not happy.

Go have a read, if only to learn what questions I would ask Mario if he held a press conference.


  1. CrashJK
    February 14, 2011 12:23 pm

    Can we call it a premeditated ASSAULT and not a hockey game ? I’ll leave it at that…

  2. Just a Simple Man
    February 14, 2011 12:40 pm

    Unfortunately Mario is being jobbed by the National media writers. Pretty much calling him a hypocrite because of Cookie. Though two different scenarios, the media is trying their best to tie them together.

  3. SpudMom
    February 14, 2011 12:42 pm

    I didn’t watch the game so I’m asking those of you who did: Where the hell were the officials? I know penalties were handed out and such during the game (as well as suspensions by the league afterwards) but how come the refs didn’t start tossing people out of the game?

  4. CrashJK
    February 14, 2011 12:53 pm

    @spudmom – the zebras were totally overwhelmed and did eject players throughout the game. I believe the Pens finished the game with 6 players on the bench, hell 0prik was playing forward. When brawls (or attacks) were breaking out at all locations on the ice involving 4, 6, 8, 10 guys the refs couldn’t handle it. Blysma should have pulled his players after the attach on Tangradi and left the building imho…

    Praise to Mario and thank Shero we have Matt Cooke
    nuff said…i’m trying to get over this past hockey weekend.

  5. empirechick
    February 14, 2011 12:55 pm

    @SpudMom –

    The officials were completely worthless. They should be fined for letting the game get that far out of hand. Especially that nonsense of letting the Islander who was already in a fight go skating around unattended. Yes, Goddard earned his suspension for leaving the bench, but that guy never should have been able to go after Johnson.

    Although they did throw a bunch of players out – only about 3 guys left on the benches by the end.

  6. SpudMom
    February 14, 2011 1:08 pm


    I’ve seen some grudge matches in my time – I remember when the Red Wings went after Claude (not Mario!) Lemieux for breaking Kris Drapers face after the end of a period – but that’s completely out of control.

  7. Margaret
    February 14, 2011 1:53 pm

    @SpudMom – I agree with both CrashJK and empirechick. The refs did what they could but at one point, because totally useless. There was a point in the game, I’m sure, when the game should have been stopped, both coaches called together with the officials and told that the BS better stop. Of course, who knew it would get SO out of hand? The hit on Tangradi and Talbot getting punched were inexcusable. The fact that it’s common knowledge that the Islanders purposly brought up thug fighters for this game should have raised a red flag somewhere – so maybe the time to talk to the coaches was BEFORE the game. Goddard sealed his own fate, although I applaud him for trying to help Johnson (although Johnson broke DiPietro’s face and I doubt he needs much help!). The Islanders were pissed at Johnson about that fight, but they failed to remember that it was DIPIETRO who initiated the fight. And hey, if he can’t hold his own, he had no business engaging Johnson or anyone else.

  8. Joe K.
    February 14, 2011 2:06 pm

    So Mario still thinks it’s a garage league! :)

  9. Ex-Pat Pittsburgh Girl
    February 14, 2011 2:16 pm

    My understanding is that the officiating crew for this game was not one of the more experienced crews — I heard or read somewhere that they had 19 games under their belts. If this is accurate, then the league should shoulder some of the responsibility for the chaos as pretty much everyone who follows hockey knew to expect some sort of blowback from the Johnson-DiPietro fight from the previous game. You don’t put an inexperienced crew out there.

  10. Cassie
    February 14, 2011 3:43 pm

    Whoever was the first Anonymous person, awesome comment. Hit the nail on the head.

  11. Ellen in NYC
    February 14, 2011 4:19 pm

    As a former ‘Burgher and now a Long Islander (the Isles suck!) — I’m actually going to pipe up and say that I was there. A mere 5 rows behind the Pens bench. The game was a complete travesty, and I left feeling absolutely horrible. Not just because we lost 9-3 to a terrible team, but because it wasn’t even a hockey game. And Ginny is right when she says Brent Johnson could slam a revolving door — that guy has earned my respect, that’s for sure. And yes, I’ve got the pics to prove it. Sadly, they are all of fights!

  12. bluzdude
    February 14, 2011 4:51 pm

    Anon 10:26 is the new John 3:16. Dude said almost everything I wanted to say. Except this:

    I understand Godard’s 10-game suspension because it’s spelled out in the rules. But that also should establish a “benchmark” for the game and be the tipping point on which to compare other infractions. Like elbowing a guy unconscious and beating on his prone body, or taking a roundhouse punch at a guy from behind are far worse than protecting your goalie from some AHL Rent-A-Goon run amok.

    If Gods gets 10 those other jokes should have had more. Suspending minor league call-ups has zero impact on the team or the league. (Well, other than letting everyone know that you can call guys up to headhunt any time you want.)

  13. unsatisfied
    February 14, 2011 5:30 pm

    no, cooke doesn’t help.

    but, the fact that we have the most majors and the highest penalty minutes in the league this season doesn’t help mario in the national media’s eyes.

    if the league really wanted something like this out of the league, they would make such actions punishable with an automatic 10-game suspension for any fight for a 1st offense. 2nd offense would be 25 games; 3rd, the season.

    boom. done.

  14. unsatisfied
    February 14, 2011 5:33 pm

    here’s something else to consider: when johnson went all chuck norris on dipietro, you enjoyed it, right?

    (don’t worry — in the interest of full disclosure, I did as well.)

  15. bucdaddy
    February 14, 2011 6:52 pm

    Is this the NHL or the WWF?

    This sort of idiocy is why I pretty much stopped watching hockey 30 years ago.

  16. Just A Simple Man
    February 14, 2011 6:57 pm

    Just spent two hours listening to Hockey Night in Canada Radio while driving to NY.
    Mario is getting zero support.
    They keep trashing him for Cook and the most fighting majors in hockey so it’s going to be difficult for him to gain any ground.
    If he wants change why not get involved with the Board of Governors (something he has not done in the past). If he did I’m sure Sid would be a shoe in for the competition committee.
    While I think what happened on LI was truly out of control, to the point of purposely calling up minor league “goons” for the game, nothing will happen from a statement, even from Mario. The current backwash he is getting proves that.

  17. Pensgirl
    February 14, 2011 7:12 pm

    Margaret is correct – the time to talk to the coaches was before the game. In the game against Boston after Cooke had concussed Savard, both teams were warned and nothing ended up happening. The Islanders waved a huge red flag in the league’s face calling up AHL punks, and nothing was done. It’s despicable.

    Hockey is my favorite sport, and regardless of team affiliation, I’m deeply ashamed to be associated with it right now.

  18. bluzdude
    February 14, 2011 7:49 pm

    There’s a huge difference between stand-up fights and swinging at someone from behind, away from the play. (and bringing up minor league meatheads to do it.) The two issues don’t belong in the same conversation.

    Sure, the Pens lead the league in fighting. Who do you think they were fighting? Other people that wanted to fight, of course. And I’d wager that there are a bunch of teams that WANT to get the Pens fighting because it takes their focus away from skating and scoring. It the Pens didn’t take the fights, everyone would be calling them “weenies.” (You know the term they would actually use…)

  19. Scott
    February 14, 2011 8:21 pm

    While I love both Mario and the Pens very deeply, Mario’s comments ring hollow on this one. The Penguins lead the league in penalty minutes….by a large margin. Also having Cooke, one of the dirtiest players in the league, on the team makes Mario’s call to “clean up the game” sound pretty absurd.

  20. Beth
    February 14, 2011 10:07 pm

    I’m probably going to get killed for this, but how about they just ban fighting, period? I love watching the hits and I understand that people lose their tempers, but guys get hit in football on every play without it deteriorating into an all out brawl. On top of which, we’ve all seen players just drop the gloves right off the face off with no provocation involved whatsoever. It’s completely ridiculous! Just play the game.

  21. Schuyler
    February 14, 2011 10:22 pm

    @bluzdude – I think you hit the nail on the head. The difference between penalty minutes in ACTUAL fights against NHL players and unfair, cheap shots with minor leaguers (called up specifically for that purpose) are two very different things. I don’t think it matters if we lead the league in penalty minutes – if both teams are willing to fight. But Friday night was just a disgusting display of hockey (if you can call it that). The refs were definitely out-manned, and the NHL is to blame for that as well. Everyone is to blame for that disaster.

  22. Trish
    February 15, 2011 7:16 am

    As long as Matt Cooke is a Pittsburgh Penguin, nothing Mario says about cleaning up the sport will ever be taken seriously, even if he also has the concussed superstar that started all the OMG WTF NHL stuff. That being said, Friday’s game was UGLY.

    (although I hate to admit that when Max Talbot got sucker-punched I was cheering for him to get up and pound the dude. I will go hang my head in shame now)

  23. matt pritt
    February 15, 2011 7:12 pm

    Matt Cooke is part of the problem for why Mario isn’t getting any support outside of the local fan base, but he is not the only reason. The Penguins continue to employ Eric Godard, who was in the lineup for the Islanders game, and whose main role with the team is requisite goon. In 17 games he has played this year he has 1 point (an assist) and 88 penalty minutes. Not that his career numbers show any grand deviation from his numbers this year (GP 333, G 6, A 10 PIM 816). Say what you will about the Matt Cooke’s and Sean Avery’s of the world, they have a modicum of hockey ability that makes their existence somewhat tolerable. But for all of the anguish over the Islanders calling up minor league goons for a fight, the Penguins don’t need to because they carry one on the everyday roster, who is usually relegated to healthy scratch status when his services are not needed. As long as Lemieux is willing to cut checks for the likes of Godard, his complaints about how the game is played is going to come with some criticism.