After the Islanders played the Penguins a couple of months back in what is now labeled the fight night on Long Island, I wrote a blog about the game, the outcome (suspensions), and Mario's feedback afterwards.
While I am not a big time journalist or even a well known blogger I still feel that I have a responsibility to my readers to be fair when it is called for.
After Mario's harsh words following the fight night, his criticism of the NHL and their handling of the situation, myself, other Islanders fans, and thousands of Penguins fans went back and forth over the subject.
From the start I was very critical of Trevor Gillies actions. I have said from day one, and those of you who follow me even if you don't like me can vouch that I was against what he did. I felt the Islanders were right for wanting revenge, I was pleased with the unusual events of the night, but never once had a nice thing to say about Gillies.
In my arguments with Pens fans my main point was yes Gillies was wrong and foolish for what he did but it is hard for the Pens fans to be so critical of the Islanders with a player like Matt Cooke on their squad.
When Mario gave his rant/speech it all seemed so hypocritical considering he employs a player like Matt Cooke on his squad.
So for the second time in a week I am calling out the ownership of another NHL team for doing the right thing.
I do not like the Penguins.....at all. I respect their team for what they have accomplished but I simply dislike them. I am however man enough to say nice job to their owners and management for their handling of the latest in the Matt Cooke saga. Far too often we see managers and owners alike defending their players for one thing and throwing the book at another player on a different team for doing the exact same thing. I didn't think this latest episode would be much different. I was wrong.
In an era of hockey where head injuries are plaguing the league and players, to see the events of Sunday happen AGAIN after all the publicity head shots have had over this past season I myself am so happy to see a team call out its own player for that type of dirty play. In all the interviews I have seen, not once has anyone from the Pens organization even attempted to defend Cooke's actions. Kudos to them!!
Like them or not this organization is not only vocal about the issue but they recognize a major player in the controversy is on their team and they realize there is no room for that in this game anymore.
I still disagree with the original statements made by Mario after the Isles game. I am still not a Penguins fan. I do have a new found respect for the organization. It takes a lot of class to call out one of your own. Make no mistake about that. I am sure it hasn't been easy for them and in a season devastated by injuries, especially a head injury to their star player and probably the best player in the league there is no more denying that there is a major problem that needs to be addressed.
So to the Penguins fans, players, coaches, and executives, I am still not your fan. I am however an admirer of how you handled this foolish and unfortunate incident. I hope they set the new standard among teams on how to handle dirty players. I would like to see all teams, Islanders included, take further action against these cheap hitting fools and drop them from your roster, regardless of the cost. Make it known, loud and clear, that if you choose to play that style of hockey, then you must play it someplace else.
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