Lay Off Mario

Well I’ve seen enough Mario Lemieux bashing I’ll tell you that, so I think it’s time now that someone actually stuck up for this great player and great man. You go into forums and some fool’s running his mouth over how Mario’s the most overrated player in the game, and then another’s smacking about how he is the worst captain in the NHL today (Keith Primeau anyone?). Time to set the record straight Mario Lemieux is now, and always will be one of the greatest, greatest players of this game.I can’t point to what it could be that makes people criticize him so much?

THE DECREASE IN HIS SCORING RATE:

Well I know Markus Naslund would be very disappointed with only 208 points in his last 134 games. Fact of the matter is Mario has more points per game than Gretzky, Bossy and every other great player of all time, and sure he’s slightly slowed down (he’s 37 people) but he’s still going at over 1.5 points per game on probably the worst team in the league. Jerome Iginla couldn’t even get near that figure on Calgary when he won the Art Ross and Rocket trophy, but he shouldn’t quit too should he?

THE INJURIES:

He doesn’t play every game every year? Well la-di fricken da. Either does John LeClair, in fact last I saw, Tony Amonte even missed games last season and so did Yzerman, Bure and many more. Rob Svehla another iron man of the league (who coincidentally people is much younger than Mario) doesn’t even know if he wants to come back next year, yet Mario, who does, and who also performs at a higher level than Svehla still, does want to and gets criticized. Idiots.

THE AGE:

Francis is older, Messier is older, Larionov is older even Stevie Y is and yet last time I checked, half of you don’t mind whether these guys retire or not. Apparently Francis needs to stay on and help the young guys at Carolina (what’s Mario doing at Pittsburgh people), and Stevie Y should come back for another year despite his injuries in the last year or so as well. Let’s make up our mind with a little consistency hey? And further to the point, how many of these guys got near a point per game last season, let alone 90 odd in 60 odd games, only one, Mario baby.

THE HIATUS:

Yeah he needed three years away from the game (an apparent retirement) because of serious injuries. Then he has the character and ability to make a successful comeback, become the best player in the league again (hey the stats speak for themselves, you can ya-da-ya-da me all you like about Forsberg, put Mario on a line with Tanguay and Hejduk and Milan’ll get 100 goals) and yet we still criticize him. Seems to me we aren’t respecting him enough, his comeback alone should’ve gotten him the Masterton trophy, but all the naysayers wanna do is “overrated this, retire already that” shut the hell up.

Fact is he took a break (cause he had to) and now he’s back, big deal.

RUINED THE PENGUINS FRANCHISE:

Fact, Jagr wanted more money, fact Pittsburgh was running low in money, fact Jagr left for more money. Myth, it’s all Mario’s fault and as such he ruined the franchise. The man made the franchise in the 80’s and 90’s, and because all of a sudden it’s got hardly any money and he happens to be an owner it’s his fault? Get your hand off it. And give a bit more credit and respect where it’s due.

ABANDONED THE CLUB WHEN THEY NEEDED HIM THE MOST:

This is my favourite one. Now I’m not absolutely well versed, but didn’t Canada beat a very strong USA team in the final at the Winter Olympics? As far as I remember, every Canadian from here up the ying-yang couldn’t shut his mouth about it for weeks on end afterward. Wasn’t Mario the Captain and an integral member of said team? Fact of the matter is they may or may not have won without Mario, point is he was an integral part of their win. Now I’m not from North America (and I thank god for that everyday) but here in Australia we get really excited when two individuals by the names of Harry Kewell and Mark Viduka (if you know anything about soccer you’ll know them) choose playing for Country over playing for club. And so should you. He didn’t let the Penguins down, I think he’s done more than enough for them (geez he’s worth 8 mil but plays for half that, he could go elsewhere if you wanted him to) and continues to, so he needed a break again to recharge, get over it.

It had to be said, Mario is a great ambassador to Canada, the Penguins and hockey in general, whenever in the course of my daily life I see the number 66 anywhere I think Lemieux, only two other numbers have that effect on me 10 for Amonte (yeah i know he doesnt wear it anymore) and 99 for Gretzky.

I think it’s time we all just let Mario do what he does best, play damn good hockey, without criticizing him.

Ross Byrnes (Nothingman)

Vice Admin of Wowhockey


42 Responses to Lay Off Mario

  1. leafs2003champs says:

    1 agree 100%

  2. WeStSiDe says:

    Isnt it “I”?

  3. aaron says:

    I don’t like Mario Lemieux (something about his personality rubs me the wrong way), but I was almost considering doing an article like this. The total bullsh*t he takes from just about everybody is mindboggling. The Penguins are NOTHING w/o Mario. They have NEVER been anything w/o Mario, and they NEVER will be anything w/o Mario. They wouldn’t even exist w/o Mario…I don’t know how many times he’s saved them from leaving Pittsburgh, folding, etc. To say he betrayed them…Christ, that’s just stupid.

    I mean seriously ppl. He’s destroyed himself to save that franchise. His health is gone. He brought them two Cups, spent a good deal of his personal money (and he never played in the “big contract days”) to keep them in Pittsburgh, has pushed hard to get them a new arena…I mean, they’d have nothing w/o him. They would probably be better off, b/c there’s no way in hell they’d still be stuck in Pittsburgh. So if you want to diss on him for giving everything he’s ever had into the Penguins organization, b/c w/o him they would be in a better city, then maybe you have a point (albiet a horrible one). But this wasn’t even a playoff team before Mario came back…and he took them to the Conference Finals that first year. Then, inevibility set in, and they collapsed into the total crap they are w/o Mario Lemieux in the lineup.

    Now, I don’t like Mario. Don’t think this is some lovefest toward him. But he is simply one of the greatest players to don an NHL jersey, and should be remembered as such. And he symbolized devotion to a franchise in a way no other player has or ever will (yes, not even Steve Yzerman can rival what Lemieux has done for the Penguins, and that is saying A LOT for Lemieux). To call him overrated, or disloyal, is just…stupid. Amazingly freakin’ stupid.

  4. Nothingman says:

    I thought I had the Wow Hockey button, try to plug the site…what dya get?

    Oh well. Doesn’t really matter.

  5. Lint07 says:

    Mario Lemieux could manage to deke by you and get a hat trick before you even realize it… And that by playing only on one skate.

    He’s that good. I mean he battled everything there is: Cancer (2 times), back problems, age, trap, retirement, etc. And STILL DOMINATE THE GAME after all these years goddammit!

    Time to give credit where credit is due, people.

    Mario has a place on the starting lineup along with Patrick Roy in my all-time all-star team.

    It’s well-known that people tend to hate individuals better than them, so it’s not a big surprise that so many people here “can’t stand him”.

    Top-notch article by the way.

  6. kremlin says:

    Mario is 100% wicked. Love him. Just wish he would play for a contender.

  7. wayne2 says:

    Mario Lemieux has always been there for the money.I agree he is a great player.Fact:He refused to put the Pittsburg jersey when drafted cause they where a “loosing“ team.Fact:he was suppose to retire a first time because of his back(sorry cant remember the year) but when Pittsburg offered him a raise well his back heeled by some miracle.Fact:When he came back from retirement stating that he wanted one of his child who never got to see him the reality was Pittsburg is in the whole and “owes“ him money and the only to get it is to come back and try to attract people back to the arena so he can get part of his money.Fact:when he came back and was scoring great early in the season,he was the best in the world(blablabla) but when he started having trouble scoring(normal,he`s getting older) well he blamed it again on his bad back.Sorry but he is extremely talented but is and always will be a money player.

  8. Heinzee57 says:

    Gentlemen,

    I confess to having bashed Mario in the past.

    Mario Lemieux fell out of favor with fans (not just me) when he openly criticized the “clutch and grab” that had evolved in the NHL – just before retiring!!!

    It was the outward appearance of I’m taking my toys and going home because I don’t like the way you play.

    Mario is a big man and he should be able to deal with Don Sweeney hanging on his back. After all, Gretzky is a little guy and he never complained about being held.

    That being said, it does not take away the fact that he is one of the greatest to ever play the game. I recognize that and to you Super Mario (because I know you’ll see this) I am sorry.

    I get more enjoyment out of bashing Jagr anyway.

    57

  9. Gattopardo says:

    I am not one of these people who offers up the stupid argument ‘you can’t criticise X as you’ve never played pro hockey/coached/been on “pop idol” yourself’. But I really cannot understand criticism of Mario.

    We won’t realise quite how truly great he was, and is, until he really is gone. We won’t realise how blessed the sport of hockey has been, to have two of the greatest athletes ever playing against (and with) each other during the last 20 years.

    The perception of Mario as a whinger is mistaken, I feel. After all, do we not complain about the clutching and grabbing? Yes. So why shouldn’t he? He loves the game, and thinks it is spoilt (as it is) by this phenomenon. Can people not admit that his criticisms might not actually be entirely selfish? It’s like his involvment in Pittsburgh hockey being a money-orientated thing. Errrrrrrr……No. If Mario wanted money he would’ve gone elsewhere.

    As for him being a softie, that’s so ridiculous, it’s not even worth bothering with.

  10. jjm301 says:

    Moria is about the MONEY??? Are you kidding, how many other players would take 30 million dollars and buy/save a hockey team in a small market. Mario didn’t have to do that, he simply could have retired and gone he own way. FACT mario raises more money for cancer research then any other athlete that i know of. He is a man of his words and one of the respected players in the league and oh yeah he is alo one of the 2 greatest players to ever play the game.

  11. Gforce says:

    Of Course I Bash him, he’s Mario.i Agree with you,the clutch and grab has slowed him down points.Don’t get me wrong as long time Bruins fan he’s earned the respect of us here,Think about it How many times did he ALONE knocked Boston Out.

    That’s the Mario i remember smoking Bourque breaking in on Moog and leave him in his Jock strap.Not the Mario that stands on the side of the net collesting one-timers.We don’t want that one and the fans miss the Mario that can be magicial. He Should do the right thing and give Dan Heatly the allstar record he deserves of 5 Goals,thats another Article… Let the Jagr Bashing Begin…He’s been nothing with out Mario wise that?.

  12. fatsat says:

    Great article. I love Mario. Watched him play in Junior and followed his career in the NHL.

    Mario is a great hoockey player when he wants to play – it’s that simple.

    Last year when Morozov was healthly…the two of them created a storm. At that time Mario says he feels great and wants to play for a couple of more years. Then Morozov gets hurt, Starka gets hurt and Kovalev gets traded due to financial reasons…all of a sudden Mario doesn’t feel good and isn’t sure if he’ll play the following year.

    He was a floater after that point on.

    Never did back check past the center line either. But he has always been known for that.

    Another good example of how Mario likes to float, was when Gretzky dissed his play after the first couple of games – Now Mario had something to prove, right? – and that he did. I haven’t seen Mario move like that in a long time.

    Once again, I think Mario is great but I think he lacks heart and motivation at times. When the going is good, Mario is great, when the going is not so good, Mario floats.

  13. Gforce says:

    I forgot to add,Can someone tell me what happen to Mike Bossy?i Really Don’t know.. He only Played like 7yrs how his he Great??

  14. fatsat says:

    Gretzky dissed the first couple of games in the World Cup not the NHL season – sorry for the confusion.

  15. nocuphere says:

    Here, here….Good job man….Fact is the guy is scary…Imagine if he had anyone with scoring touch on his line for a whole season…The guy could still get 120pts a year…Fact is he lost Morozov to injury, Kovalev via trade…And Rico Fata, well he might be good, but c’mon he’s no Kovalev. Anyway dude….good job.

  16. devfanman4 says:

    I respect what Mario Lemieux has done for the Penguins and NHL in the past, but it is time to retire. He can’t do anything else for either. He’s a great player, but he whines too much and uses his status to get away with complaining about the evolution of hockey. Everyone goes through it, he has to learn to deal with it. He can say anything he wants about the league and you’ll never hear about him getting fined for his comments. Anyone else in the league would. I think more people have a problem with the way he is protected (along with other players in the NHL) by the powers that be.

  17. PeterPuck says:

    Ha Ha, I am sorry but I had to laugh about the Gretsky comment, I guess you must be 14 years old and do not remember the Oiler or Kings days, Gretzky always had a goon policeman playing on his line protecting him, remember Siminko (sp) , Mario has not had that……….

  18. markjohnston says:

    agree 100%. look at the stats. you can’t argue with stats.

  19. NHLman says:

    Mario Lemieux is a great player, probably #3 or 4 on my all-time list. It is wrong for people to bash him despite all his skill and talent, however, you can’t blame people for criticizing him, everyone’s a critic and has their own opinion.

    I wouldn’t mind Super Mario playing on my team at all.

  20. FoShizzleMyNizzle says:

    i agree. mario is the shiznit. ive been playin super mario games siznit the 80’s. nintendo is the shiznit dog. super mario will be around forever and shit dog.

  21. Slavik says:

    great article, the guy was 8th in scorign this year and played 20 less games then every oen on a crappy team, it isn’t tiem to retire, sure he coulda kept his 2.01 PPG, but he is one of hte best out there even now he is one of the top 5 players in the NHL, its time for mess to reire cuase he is liek top 200 player in the NHL.

  22. comrie44 says:

    I couldn’t agree more.

    While Mario deserved the criticism early on in his career for refusing to play for Canada at the WJC’s, demanding a million dollar contract from the Pens, threatening to hold out as a JUNIOR player for not getting extra ‘incentives’, whining about Gretzky winning the popularity contests etc.

    Ever since his battle with Hodgkins he has been by far the best ambassador for the game of hockey, his comeback in 92-93 to lead the Pens to 15 straight wins has to be considered the best comeback EVER by a hockey player.

    and lets face it, without Mario there would be NO Pens, thats 2x hes saved the franchise.

  23. matteo says:

    Mario is the 2nd best player in NHL history behind Bobby Orr. He was the greatest offensive player of all time…….and don’t come back with the Gretzky crap…..if Mario could have had the NHL make it against the rules to hit him Mario would have demolished every one or Wayne’s records.

    He can be thje biggest prick in the world off of the ice, but on the ice he is simply the best in the game today….I would take him over any other current NHL forward.

    matteo – SCTP

    Vice Administrator of WowNiceBoobies

  24. Heinzee57 says:

    Now that is a foolish thing to say….

    Having a McSorely or Semenko on the ice with you doesn’t keep people from draping themselves all over you in their zone.

    Goons don’t stop the trap…. Last time I checked goons come pretty cheap. If a goon is what Mario has needed to keep from crying about the holding, I’m sure even the Penguins could have afforded him one.

    See the point of my comment (because I obviously need to point it out for you) is even if his complaint is valid, he should have kept it to himself. Not leave that comment as a legacy before his first retirement.

    That is what soured people on Mario.

    If you’d like to debate who is better… clearly it is Gretzky.

    57

  25. OldNord says:

    You’re right Ross, I never criticize the great player who is Mario le Magnifique. I was one of the fans who were playful by his return three years ago. He will show again at his detractors that he is not wash up.

  26. aafiv says:

    Here’s why we’re all so sick of Stupor Mario.

    1.) The Whining

    “Oh there’s too much clutching and grabbing, change this rule, change that!” If you don’t want to play the game don’t BUT SHUT THE ‘F’ UP! Nobody likes a whiner.

    2.) The Cheap-Shots

    Despite number one above, Stupor Mario dishes out a lot of cheap shots at other players and clutches and grabs as much as the next guy does. What’s the difference? Mario nevers gets called for anything, ever! If an opposing player looks at him the wrong way it’s duble-minor or a major penalty. COME ON!

    3.) The Indecision

    “To Play or not to play.” Frankly, I couldn’t care less if this guy plays or not. If you are going to play though, Stupor Mario: shut up and take your lumps like a man!

  27. PantherPaw says:

    He was, is and will always be the biggest cheap-shot, cry-baby. His influence can be seen in Jagr. I agree that he is very talented, but like Lindros, he is nothing but a big cry-baby that whines when the game goes against him. The baby almost shed tears when challenged by Ference last year. wah, wah, wah!!!

  28. Gforce says:

    one BIG reason he devoted to the pens so much is that they owned him money, and don’t take a cheap shoot at Stevie Y….that ‘s wrong…

  29. Gforce says:

    last year , Ian Moran!!!

  30. MoscowDynamo says:

    No question.

  31. NYRules says:

    I would just like to say that Mario Lemieux is the greatest player to ever play the game. You can say what ever u want about Gretz being the “great one”, but when u compare stats and look at lemieuxs shorter, injury filled career Lemieux does not come out far behind Gretz. Then factor in the fact that Lemieux played his entire career with back pains and still put up the numbers that he did.

    Although he has always had either Kevin stevens, Jagr, or Kovalev, none of those men compare to what Gretzky had to work with. Gretz had Messier, Kurri, Coffey, Robitaille, Blake.

    I know many people willl disagree with this but i honestly feel that Lemieux is the most talented player in history.

  32. aaron says:

    Cheap shot? Where did I take a cheap shot at the captain? He’s one of my favorite players in the NHL.

  33. titans says:

    Mario can bite me!!

  34. defenestrate says:

    I thought you were the President of “Release The Twins”…

  35. defenestrate says:

    15,000 points for a Chris Farley reference hidden inside a very insightful Mario article.

    I don’t bash Mario – it is well known that my main bash target is Wayne “Meryl Streep” Gretzky.

    SCTP – “I hates rabbits”

  36. titans says:

    Gretzky is GOD!

  37. Hineychow says:

    I agree with you 99%. Only one thing I don’t is that the year before Mario’s return the Pens made it almost to the conference finals. They gave the Flyers a hell of a run and I thought they would have beat them in that series. Rmember that sick 5 overtime game where Primeau scored that goal?

    Anyhow, the whole point to this is that they were a good team the year prior to Mario’s return and he just added to the momentum. I think if they would have kept that team together they might of had a 3rd cup under him.

  38. defenestrate says:

    God is love

    Love is blind

    Ray Charles is blind

    Ray Charles is god

    SCTP – “Le mew…le meow…le purr”

  39. LordOfHockey says:

    The people that say Mario should retire and he is not one of the greats never actually saw him play before his return (some of the stuff after has been Magic to but nothing compared to before), Mario has the best scoring touch the league has ever seen, and of of the best sets of hands ever this man does perfect passes to anyone, personally i hate the so called Great One mainly because he always played with a tough guy on his side so no one would touch him, wow thats amazing a player with pretty much the entire ice during the 80s amassed a large amount of points. Mario did not have this protection he was getting beat on every night, he had a hard battle with cancer and still continues to play, But yes Mario doesnt give a damn about hockey and his stats after all do suck, and hell he complains alot to, think about it this way, If the Great One had no protection and had fought with cancer do you honestly think that after this man had taken such a beating he would continue to play.

  40. JimmyD says:

    I couldn’t say it better myself. He’s a little slower, but also a little wiser. I admit as a Pens fan, I was a little upset he played for Canada in the OLY, and then shut it down for the season, but given the same circumstances, I’d do the same. He could have demanded 15 mil + to play for any team with cash, he could of let Paul Allen move the team to Portland and got every last dime he was owed. The guy didn’t speak a lick of English when he got here and had a 10th grade education and hmmm look at him today. Say yeah because he made millions playing hockey, but that deal wasn’t an easy deal to consummate. We don’t have agents that say things to us like “Don’t wear the jersey on draft day” “I can you millions more” As an 18 y/o kid that sounds good and screw [people who thinks he’s greedy. He was a selfish player at the beginning, but he’s a true leader today. He could still sell this team and walk away a very rich man. Put yourself in the same position would you take the easy road and walk or would you put up with BS and do it. I’d probably walk. Let him be IDIOTS

  41. guinsfan4life says:

    Regardless of Lemieux’s performance, and he has shown that he can still compete at a level commensurate to that of his peers–he can do alot for the NHL still.

    One interesting point in your post, the “evolution of hockey”. Interesting. So you are saying that Mario is getting in the way of hockey evolving. Evolving into what? Hockey has become its’ own worst enemy, which has the sport going backwards. Hockey was evolving up and until the mid 1990’s when the league expanded to include more teams which left teams searching for talent that wasn’t there. Subsequently, players who had no speck of ability were playing in the league and because they had no way to make up for their shortcomings but to grab, clutch and hold. This in turn made the supply of young offensive players in more demand and increased player salaries.

    Hockey has yet to pick up steam it had from the early 90’s when it was truly evolving.

    We’ll have to wait and see if it will start to evolve again after the CBA is up.

    Mario can still fill arenas. If that is one thing he can do for the NHL, then so be it. The Economy sucks right now so if that means just a few more bucks in the owners pockets, he has done enough.

    Brett Hull also says basically what he wants about the game. He has agreed on more than one occasion about the same topics that Mario has. Paul Kariya also has to a lesser degree. Why not fine them? Well because from top to bottom this league has no identity-the owners are all out to get theirs instead of working toward making the game profitable for each other. These are the same players who pack the arena on a nightly basis. Why bite the hand that feeds you?

  42. matteo says:

    No that was the “Save the bearded clam” foundation…..or was that Shave….hmmmmm

    SCTP — Boobies are more gooder

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