A Bruins Blog by Ric Duarte of BruinsDieHard

I’m no national media columnist, but after watching what was for me a mixture of delight and disgust known asGame 3 of the Pittsburgh Penguins versus the Philadelphia Flyers in Philly, I think it’s time for one of those national, high profile columnist to do it.  It’s time to call out that hypocrite and fraud of an owner of the Penguins, Mario Lemieux.

When Lemieux was a player, despite his offensive talents, he constantly complained about the clutching and grabbing that went on in his era. He threatened to quit playing because of it. Since he has been in charge of the Pittsburgh franchise, he has hinted about not being an owner in the National Hockey League more than once.

Well Mario, you are a fraud. You are a hypocrite and from where I sit, you have been your entire professional career. Yes, the league appreciates all you have done to promote hockey. Yes, the league appreciates the fact that when no one else would, you stepped in and saved that Penguins franchise and kept professional hockey in Pittsburgh. But it’s your two-face that grinds my gears now and has for a while.

For many years you played alongside one of the National Hockey League’s blatant cheapshot artists and gutless players in Ulf Samuelsson. For three seasons you played with another gutless cheapshot artist in Darius Kasparaitis. And if my memory serves me, you never had one complaint about the fact they were injuring opponents many times.

After you purchased the team, you then and still have in your employ a new century thug in Matt Cooke, who has a few suspensions and fines for his gutless and cheap acts on his hockey brethren, including one of the worst head shots ever seen in the NHL to the Boston Bruins’ Marc Savard in 2010. That hit has effectively ended Savard’s career.

You then have the audacity to send a letter to the National Hockey League after another donnybrook with the New York Islanders late in the 2010-11 season in which 65 penalties were assessed, including 15 fighting majors and 21 game misconducts, resulting in a total of 346 penalty minutes. Oh by the way — New York won the game 9-3, which seems to be some sort of pattern with the Penguins.  When they are out of the game, it tends to deteriorates into a brawl.

Your statement to the NHL after that game: “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. It was painful to watch the game I love turn into a sideshow like that.

“The NHL had a chance to send a clear and strong message that those kinds of actions are unacceptable and embarrassing to the sport. It failed.

“We, as a league, must do a better job of protecting the integrity of the game and the safety of our players.  We must make it clear that those kinds of actions will not be tolerated and will be met with meaningful disciplinary action.

“If the events relating to Friday night reflect the state of the league, I need to re-think whether I want to be a part of it.”

Well just tell me what is your statement about what happened at the Wells Fargo Center on Sunday afternoon. Most of it initiated by the thugs in white with the skating Penguin crest.

Are you going to condemn your team because it was all on them? I’m no Philadelphia fan. I’m a hockey fan. I enjoy a good hockey fight, and I grew up in the bench clearing brawl era, so I’m not immune to any of this.  I actually was laughing at the first period. But as the game (and fights0 progressed, as your team could not keep the Flyers off the scoreboard, as your team continued to get frustrated and take cheap shots, it really brought it all back to you!

Until you clean up your own house in Pittsburgh, you should not think that others should clean it up for you. Or maybe you should not be in a league that allows the people you employ to act like fools!

Ric Duarte has covered hockey and the Bruins for various media outlets since 1986. You can follow Ric at BruinsDieHard.com and at twitter @bruins_diehard.


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