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Readers react to ugly Penguins-Islanders game.


Readers share their thoughts on the Penguins-Islanders debacle – too strong? – game Friday night that featured 65 combined penalties for 346 total minutes (15 fighting major, 11 game misconducts and even two too-many-men minors):

From Erin Leaver (

“Plain and simple: It was an embarrassment for the NHL, especially following the Bruins/Habs debacle earlier this week. While both teams can share some of the blame for the end result of this game, the refs should also bear some of the burden. They failed to keep control of the game, and during multiple plays allowed fighters to gain control (Hayley being allowed to roam the ice, Konopka holding a cocked fist over a helpless Talbot). But beyond that, the players had no respect for each other, and when it comes down to it, that’s the biggest reason for cheap-shots across professional sports.”

From Lisa Morrow (

“An embarrassment for the NHL. … I am a biased Pens fan but the Isles played dirty and dangerous. I enjoy a good scrum as much as anyone but tonight this was not the sport that I love.”

From James Jeffers (

“Goon hockey.  The Islanders had no respect for the Pens players. There’s no place in the NHL for this kind of play.  The Islanders players EMBARRASSED the NHL tonight. … Hopefully the league will send a message that enough is enough.”

From Eric Policaro (

“It seems like because of the well publicized Matt Cooke antics, the Penguins are now in a ‘get what they deserve’ category. After Cooke hit Tyutin the internet almost exploded, but the Isles were ‘just sticking up for themselves.’ … The NHL needs to make a statement with some harsh penalties after the Habs/Bruins game and this ‘Slap Shot’ debacle tonight. The Pens might deserve some of that, but if that’s what it takes, so be it. The game has been shamed.”

From Ralph Schwartz (

“I can’t bring myself to watch the highlights of tonight’s game. After reading from bloggers and fans on twitter about the violence in the game I am repulsed even by the idea of watching highlights. Hockey needs to crack down once and for all and ban extreme violence like this if it intends to keep fans like me. I buy the sportswear and sing the praises of the game. I’m worth your effort, NHL.”

From Danielle Weinroth (

“The hit from Gillies on Tangradi and the taunting afterward was disgusting and disgraceful, and is the kind of thing that makes me ashamed to say occurred in the NHL. The worst thing about it all is that from the post-game comments, no one in the Islanders room is showing any remorse for their behavior, not even Coach Capuano. The players are calling it an ‘entertaining’ game and saying it was about ‘making a statement.’ I truly hope the league takes this chance to deal out punishments to prove that none of what happened is acceptable, including Godard leaving the bench (though I do believe he was doing what was necessary to protect his goalie from Haley.)”

From Mike Hladio (

“In a year where ‘24/7,’ Sidney Crosby, Steven Stamkos, etc., seemed poised to elevate hockey’s national profile, especially with the rare opportunity created by labor strife in the NFL and NBA, there are weeks like this. The perception that hockey is a Neanderthal circus league like the WWE is errant, but well deserved.  I understand the role of fighting in the game, and I was as excited about the Johnson-DiPietro fight as anyone, but if the NHL continues to cater to ‘purists,’ what is MOST pure about the game, the SKILL of (Nos.) 87, 71, 8, etc., will continue to be ignored by the general public. There was no evidence of any ‘code’ in last night’s debacle. ‘24/7’ showcased what engaging, uniquely genuine, good guys hockey players are. Weeks like this overshadow that hard-earned good will, and once again the NHL will be a joke.”

From Amanda Forney (

“I was at the game last night and it was completely crazy! I can’t imagine they could have showed all the fights on TV that happened after the whistle. … Overall, despite the loss, it was the most entertaining game I’ve ever been to or seen in a while.”

From Mark Morse (

“Losing enforcers and instigators for a handful of games doesn’t really punish teams for putting up with these players. Want to send a clear message to teams that this will not be tolerated?  Start taking draft picks.”

These comments are just a sampling of the many I’ve read. Unfortunately, I must get working on several Sunday stories. However, please know that I am grateful for the readers who answered my call for thoughts on the Pens-Isles game – and that I am pleased so many of the emails were insightful.

As always, thanks for reading.






Author: Rob Rossi

Rob Rossi is the lead sports columnist for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He has been called many names, but “Rossi” is the one to which he most often responds. He joined the Trib in November 2002 and was promoted to the columnist role in July 2014. Previously, he had covered the NHL’s Penguins (2006-14) and MLB’s Pirates (2006), while also working on beats associated with the NFL’s Steelers (2005-06) and the NCAA’s Pitt (2004-06). He has won national and local awards for his coverage of youth concussions and athletes’ charities. Also, he is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association executive committee and the Pittsburgh chapter chair. Raised in Crafton and Green Tree and a graduate of West Virginia University, he has covered a Super Bowl, All-Star Games in baseball and hockey, the NCAA basketball tournament and over 100 Stanley Cup playoff games, including the Cup Final twice. Oh, and his sports reporting has led him to brief chats with Mick Jagger and Bruce Springsteen; so that’s pretty cool. He is a regular contributor on TV with WPXI, Root Sports Pittsburgh and TSN. Also, he is the authorized biographer of Penguins star Evgeni Malkin.

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