Lemieux to Bettman: Punish teams - 03-14-11

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

ESPN's Pierre LeBrun has some amazing stuff today on a letter Mario Lemieux sent to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. In the letter, Lemieux suggests the league punish teams as a deterrent to violent play.

From LeBrun, the text of the letter:

"On behalf of the Pittsburgh Penguins organization, I am writing to propose a discussion by the Board of Governors and general managers about the NHL's current system of supplementary discipline -- and how it affects not only the integrity but the perception of our great game.:

"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."

"While there have been 50-plus suspensions since the start of the 2009-10 season, the suspensions themselves don't seem to be deterring these illegal acts and tactics. And we've often seen repeat offenders. We think it is time that teams also are held accountable for the actions of their players. We propose instituting a policy of automatically fining a team when one if its players is suspended -- with the amount of the fine based on the length of the suspension. This should serve as a disincentive for teams as well as players to employ these kinds of tactics."

-Lemieux suggested the following level of fines based on player suspension:

• 1-2 games--$50,000 fine to team
• 3-4 games--$100,000 fine to team
• 5-8 games--$250,000 fine to team
• 9-10 games--$500,000 fine to team
• 11-15 games--$750,000 fine to team
• More than 15 games--$1 million fine to team

"If a player is a repeat offender during that season, the fine to the team would double. 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."

Update: An official with the Penguins declined comment regarding the letter.

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