NHL Embarrassment: The New York Islanders Made a Mockery Of Hockey

Mike Shannon@@DLman91Featured ColumnistFebruary 13, 2011

UNIONDALE, NY - FEBRUARY 11:  Travis Hamonic #36 of the New York Islanders fights Michael Rupp #17 of the Pittsburgh Penguins as teammates Josh Bailey #12 duels Pascal Dupuis #9 during the second period on February 11, 2011 at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Along with the typical Pittsburgh-bashing articles on this site after the Pens-Islanders debacle, I've also been reading the people who leave comments who chirp their agreement with much enthusiasm.

That makes them almost as big of an embarrassment as the Islanders organization.

What happened two days ago was nothing but an ambush on the Penguins and the National Hockey League.  The Islanders scored the goals early, there's no denying that, but their actions throughout the rest of the game were an absolute joke.

There were two disgusting acts in the game.  First, Trevor Gillies delivering a blatant headshot to Eric Tangradi (giving him a concussion) and then pummeling him with punches as he laid on the ice.  If that wasn't bad enough, Gillies also taunted the injured Tangradi afterwards, proving to everyone how tough he is.

Secondly, Matt Martin (who?) tried to injure Max Talbot by sneaking up behind him and sucker-punching him in the side of the head.  If it happened on the street, it would be called assault but, because it's in a hockey game, people think it's acceptable.

For those people who are running around yelling "well, that's hockey", they should be ashamed of themselves.  That game was an absolute joke and an embarrassment to the game of hockey.

What the New York Islanders did was tantamount to a planned ambush.  The Islanders knew exactly what they were going to do going into that game and they executed their goonish tactics perfectly.

The Islanders organization was fined $100,000, Gillies was suspended nine games, and Martin has to sit down for four games.  Who cares?

Gillies is a complete goof who has played a grand total of 47 games even though he's 32 years old.  In other words, he's a career minor leaguer who really doesn't hurt his team by being suspended.

Martin has nine points in 50 career games and is a -15 for his career—not exactly Bryan Trottier.

The NHL had a chance to send a strong message that this kind of garbage isn't going to be tolerated and guess what they did?  They blew it, of course.

Gillies should have been sat down for at least 10 games and Martin should have gotten the same.  If roles were reversed and Max Talbot attacked Martin in the same manner, people would be calling for his head and then claim favoritism if a suspension wasn't issued. 

You would also think with all the concern about concussions in the league, there would have been a message sent when someone like Gillies delivers an intentional shot to the head and then continues the attack with punches.  That guy has no place in a professional sports league and the fact that some people are cheering his actions are a joke.

Mario Lemieux issued a statement today.  “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."

There is no true fan of hockey who can defend what occurred in that game.  Colin Campbell and Gary Bettman should be ashamed of themselves for failing to make a statement.

Of course, this article will be bombarded by Flyers fans who claim this crap was "real hockey" and who will say the NHL favors the Penguins.

Then, you'll have the Islanders fans come and spew their hate about "making a statement" and "turning the corner."  The bottom line is that the Islanders are one of the worst teams in the league because Garth Snow is as bad of a GM as he was a goaltender.  You make statements by playing tough hockey and winning games, not committing borderline criminal acts and acting like you've accomplished something afterwards.

So if you want to defend this crap, go ahead, but that only puts you on the same level as Campbell and Bettman.

The Islanders aren't just a joke in the standings, they're also an embarrassment to the NHL and the sport they claim to love.


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