February 28, 2002

More hard luck for comeback superstars. First Jordan, now Mario is sidelined for the year. The message couldn't be clearer: Don't even think about it, Big Mac

It seems from the article that Mario's condition pre-dated the Olympics and that he really gutted it out during the games and played through a lot of pain. Now that he has his gold to go with his Cups, should he hang the skates up for good?

posted by holden to hockey at 05:28 PM - 12 comments

With much sadness, I say: Yes.

(see, that was easy).

posted by Wulfgar! at 05:43 PM on February 28, 2002

I have been highly critical of Mario's departure from the Pens to play hockey. Now, he's hurt and the Pens are toast. I don't care how a player feels about their country, when you sign a contract (or in this case, own a team) you should put the team first. Here is an interesting exchange a friend of mine had with the PR staff of the Pens about this matter.

posted by Dwight Gooden at 05:56 PM on February 28, 2002

To quote my father: "It was the size of Mario's freakin' wallet that threw his hip out" He should not have come back. Yes, he can produce, but cannot do so without reinjuring himself. And it's not like the GM really has much to say about it, does he?

posted by tj at 12:43 AM on March 01, 2002

I think Mario came back FOR the Olympics as much as anything else (well, maybe to help ticket sales a bit too). The team should have been glad that he got to play for them in addition to that. Half of Mario is better than no Mario.

posted by mkn at 01:41 AM on March 01, 2002

I started a thread about this on another board, and am glad to see it mentioned here.

Terry Frei at ESPN wrote a great article about this too, which I'd link to if their friggin site was loading.

I admire Mario for all he has done, but even before the olympics I was noticing how he was putting the olympics first, and quite publicly.

With no doubt about it, either... he was saying things like "The olympics are my top priority now," etc... if he truly wanted to do what was right for his team, he should have rested during those two weeks, watching from the stands with Wayne.

Of course, given the situation with him and canada I wouldn't demand that of him as a GM, but it would have helped (not saying it would have prevented this injury though).

Injuries aside, I really do have a problem with how he dissed his franchise and his fans.

everyone cared about the olympics, but placing an exhibition over your job (and your company, in this case) is unacceptable.

And now that company is screwed for next year, because they'll miss the playoffs, and probably lose a lot of attendance.

posted by Bernreuther at 04:09 AM on March 01, 2002

Mario, Mario, what were you thinking?

I can understand his desire to go for the gold before the end comes. And I'm sure that as Mario knows himself better than anyone, that the permanent return to the front office may be coming sooner than he thinks.

Considering that, one would believe that he'd understand it's bad business to turn face on your own franchise and not go public about your desire to make them a lower priority to the olympics! Just bad business practice.

Having lived in the 'Burgh for 4 years, and knowing the loyalty of the fans to Lemieux (not so much the Pens as much as #66 himself), I can totally see how that town feels like they've been stabbed in the back. What a shame.

posted by rosey8810 at 09:51 AM on March 01, 2002

Would your statements be different if Mario was an American playing for, and owning, an American team? My guess is yes.

posted by srboisvert at 10:35 AM on March 01, 2002

srboisvert, I don't think his nationality matters here.

The fact is, he used the regular season as a chance to get into the Olympics, and then just abandoned his team immediately afterward.

At least an American would have had the decency to lie about it.

posted by Samsonov14 at 11:53 AM on March 01, 2002

It seems to me that by putting his body on the line for Canadian hockey, Mario was acting in the finest Olympic tradition.

He was great for the whole tournament, and did it playing hurt.

I have a hard time being critical of a guy who took over the team to save the team, who then goes out and helps his country win something that meant so much to them. In the end, who is damaged by the fact that Mario got hurt playing for Canada?

Mario himself, that's who.

No playoff bucks for the Pens owner, regular season revenues down-- and he did it for his country.

posted by outside counsel at 01:01 PM on March 01, 2002

Methinks he will end up like Bo Jackson and needing hip replacement surgery in the near future.

posted by PeteyStock at 03:36 PM on March 01, 2002

Samsonov14 said: srboisvert, I don't think his nationality matters here. The fact is, he used the regular season as a chance to get into the Olympics, and then just abandoned his team immediately afterward. At least an American would have had the decency to lie about it.

Of course you think nationality has nothing to do with it. He didn't play for your country!

Every player in the Olympics, whatever country they played for, made essentially the same choice as Lemieux did.

The only difference is that he went in somewhat hurt.

Lindros also played despite the fact that his career could end at any moment. Any player can go down at any time.

Besides, if the Olympics were enough to take him out of action, how long would he have lasted in the remainder of the NHL season? Would the Pens have made the playoffs anyway?

Probably not.

posted by srboisvert at 08:44 PM on March 01, 2002

If he was born american, and all other things remained equal, I'd still be pissed if I lived in Pittsburgh.

No, I dont think the olympics are at fault for his injury.

Maybe he'd have played 4 more games if he skipped them and then the same thing would have happened.

I'm just angry with the way he very publicly declared that the olympics, not the NHL, were his main priority.

An owner or player should not be saying that in the middle of a playoff race.

He could have said "I'm looking forward to the olympics, they're very important to me" instead of saying "Well the olympics are my priority right now, I'm trying to get ready to go to Salt Lake and play for my country," and I wouldn't have a single negative thing to say.

posted by Bernreuther at 06:10 PM on March 02, 2002

You're not logged in. Please log in or register.