Lemieux wants clubs held accountable
Mario Lemieux sent a letter to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman last week asking the league to consider hefty fines for teams with players who accumulate suspensions, ESPN.com reported Monday.
Coincidental or not, Monday at general managers meetings in Florida, the NHL announced a promise along those lines as part of its five-point plan for reducing concussions.
"I will be discussing with the Board of Governors at the June meetings the fact that I intend to, for next season, provide that clubs will ultimately be responsible for the acts of their players so that if a player or players on a club are the subjects of repeat disciplinary procedures and resultant supplemental discipline, ultimately it is the club and perhaps the coach that will be held responsible," Bettman told media in Boca Raton.
Lemieux suggested the league impose fines of up to $1 million on teams with repeat offenders, depending on the length of time a player serves in suspensions.
"The current system punishes the offending player but does very little to deter such actions in the future. We need to review, upgrade and more clearly define our policies in this regard, so that they can provide a meaningful deterrence and effectively clean up the game," Lemieux wrote.
Lemieux reacted angrily to suspensions doled out to members of the New York Islanders after a nasty brawl with the Penguins last month. But, he pointed out in his own letter that the Penguins would be among the hardest hit organizations.
"Please note that if this proposed system were in operation today, the Pittsburgh Penguins would have been fined $600,000 this season because of recent suspensions to two players. We all have to take responsibility if we are going to improve the game.'"