Mario Lemieux is concerned about the direction of the NHL.

Even though league disciplinarian Colin Campbell attempted to send a message with the punishment he handed out to the New York Islanders over the weekend, the Pittsburgh Penguins co-owner didn't think it was strong enough. Not even close.

"Hockey is a tough, physical game, and it always should be," Lemieux send in a scathing statement released Sunday by the team. "But what happened Friday night on Long Island wasn't hockey. It was a travesty. It was painful to watch the game I love turn into a sideshow like that.

"The NHL had a chance to send a clear and strong message that those kinds of actions are unacceptable and embarrassing to the sport. It failed."

Campbell travelled to Buffalo on Saturday and held face-to-face meetings with Islanders forwards Trevor Gillies and Matt Martin to discuss their actions in a fight-filled game Friday. Within hours, Gillies was suspended nine games, Martin was banned four games and the Islanders were fined US$100,000.

Pittsburgh's Eric Godard also received an automatic 10-game suspension for leaving the bench to fight.

The Islanders had entered Friday's game still bitter about their previous meeting with the Penguins and seemed intent to take matters into their own hands. Gillies charged Eric Tangradi -- hitting him in the head before punching him in the face -- while Martin grabbed an unsuspecting Max Talbot and punched him a couple times.

In a season marred by concussions, Campbell wanted players to know that punishments will continue to be harsh.

"The message should be clear to all players: targeting the head of an opponent by whatever means will be dealt with by suspension," he said in making his ruling.

Organizations will also be held accountable.

"The Islanders also must bear some responsibility for their failure to control their players," Campbell added.

It wasn't enough to satisfy Lemieux.

"We, as a league, must do a better job of protecting the integrity of the game and the safety of our players," the Hockey Hall of Famer said in his statement. "We must make it clear that those kinds of actions will not be tolerated and will be met with meaningful disciplinary action.

"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."

The game included 346 penalty minutes and 10 ejections. The Islanders won 9-3.

It came after a Feb. 2 meeting between the teams that saw New York lose Rick DiPietro for four-to-six weeks because of broken bones in his face as the result of a punch from Penguins goalie Brent Johnson.

Islanders forward Michael Haley went after Johnson on Friday night, prompting Godard to leave the bench in defence of his goaltender.