PITTSBURGH - Mario Lemieux was mostly right.
What happened in the Pittsburgh Penguins' game at Long Island last Friday was a disgrace.
The game degenerated into the kind of stupid brawling usually associated with drunken fans in the parking lot.
It was the NHL at its worst.
It was also a rare instance.
The Penguins hadn't been involved in something like that since they emptied the benches against the Edmonton Oilers in January of 1980.
Yes, there's fighting in hockey, but most of it is one-and-one and done with prior consent.
That wasn't the case Friday, when the Islanders' Matt Martin reached around to slug Max Talbot from the blind side.
Even more heinous was Trevor Gillies' attack on Penguins' rookie Eric Tangradi. Gillies flew across the ice to throw an elbow at Tangradi's head, then attacked Tangradi, who was standing there stunned from the blow to his head.
If that weren't enough, Gillies taunted Tangradi, who was being attended to by a trainer.
Lemieux was right to point out the insanity of those actions.
But he had a major misstep when he suggested he might not want to be part of the NHL because of this game.
This might carry some weight if he had been a frequent critic and had taken measures to insure the Penguins aren't part of the problem.
That's not the case.
Lemieux seems to enjoy casting himself as a recluse, rarely making public statements and virtually never making himself available for comment.
OK, he likes his privacy.
But if he wants to speak out after something affects the Penguins, he'd have more credibility if he could demonstrate he also sees the bigger picture.
The Penguins employ Matt Cooke, a tough, gritty winger who many consider one of the dirtiest players in the league.
Cooke is currently serving a four-game suspension for a reckless hit on an opponent.
Has Lemieux counseled Cooke - his employee - on his responsibility to other players?
The Penguins lead the NHL in penalty minutes and fighting majors. That's a different issue than the sideshow thuggery that occurred in the Islanders games, but it speaks to a certain aggressiveness.
If Lemieux cares about this beyond the Penguins' involvement in last Friday's game, he should speak up.
He has the name and influence to get attention, and that could lead to changes that could make the NHL better.
But when he spends as much time underground as Punxsutawney Phil, his words come across as self-serving.
Mehno can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org