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Netcrashing: Are you concerned with brawling in the NHL?

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Ken Rodney, TSN.ca
2/14/2011 4:15:11 PM
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A travesty.

Painful to watch.

A sideshow. 

Those are all terms that Mario Lemieux used Sunday to describe the Friday's fight fest between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the New York Islanders and the direction of the National Hockey League in general. 

The three-time Hart Trophy winner and current Penguins owner even went as far as to suggest that he would re-think being part of the NHL if, "the events relating to Friday night reflect the state of the league."

Now Lemieux is a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame and one of the most respected figures in the hockey community, but does he speak for all hockey fans?

Taking a look at TSN.ca's Your Call comments, the controversial contest between the Penguins and the Islanders garnered 45 pages worth of comments. The seven other NHL games on the same night combined for 33 pages, including one game featuring a Canadian team and another highlighting the return of Peter Forsberg to the Avalanche lineup.

And when Penguins goaltender Brent Johnson and Islanders netminder Rick DiPietro fought in what turned out to be the first of two goalie fights this month, TSN.ca's game highlights trailed only the Canadiens 3-2 victory over the Panthers in views. 

The first Islanders vs. Penguins highlight package on TSN.ca was more popular than the Detroit Red Wings' 7-5 victory over the Ottawa Senators on the same night in a game that featured a five-goal performance from Johan Franzen and only five minor penalties.

Lemieux contends 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."

Do you agree? Are you someone that sees goalies skating the length of the ice to go toe-to-toe and just wish they would stay in the crease and get on with the game? Or do you find yourself reaching for your iPhone or BlackBerry to alert your friends that something special is about to happen?

Should the NHL be trying to police the game with stiffer suspensions and sanctions for teams that instigate and employ the type of player responsible for the headline-creating dustups? Or are you watching SportsCentre hoping to catch those very same players in the highlights of another brawl-filled contest?

Is the viewing public - the paying customer - really concerned with the direction of the league or are hockey fans finally getting the product they have always wanted?

Let your opinions be known in our 'Your Call' feature below.

Micheal Haley (Photo: Canadian Press)

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(Photo: Canadian Press)
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