"If the events relating to Friday night reflect the state of the league, I need to re-think whether I want to be a part of it."Am I the only one who had flashbacks to another whiny Pittsburgh sports figure? James Harrison said he considered retiring because of the NFL's new commitment to follow rules already in their rulebooks. Now, a hockey legend, maybe the second best player of all time, says he might want to end his relationship with his sport because a few Islanders weren't suspended enough?
I had a bunch of ideas for this article. Metaphors, analogies, and other comments. And then I read what other people have already written, and they've outlined it pretty well already.
My best thought is this: really, truly, who gives a shit about Mario Lemieux in today's NHL? He's an owner, one of thirty. If any owner doesn't want to be a part of the league, you know what he can do? Sell the team. There would be plenty of wealthy investors very interested in purchasing a team with the national appeal of the Penguins, and a brand new stadium to boot. Mark Cuban has expressed interest in the past.
Would it feel weird for the league to turn its back on one of its greatest players? Yes, of course. And Penguins fans would be crushed; the man who saved their team back when it was terrible feeling so wronged by the league that he abandoned it? No small story. But once Sidney Crosby gets back on the ice, Penguins fans will put aside feelings of betrayal on behalf of Mario, and get back to hating the Capitals and rooting for their team.
As I said, other people have written pieces expressing many of my other sentiments, so I'll just link them here. And here. And also here.