Blog Entry

Morning Skate: How long should Matt Cooke sit?

Posted on: March 21, 2011 1:47 am
Edited on: March 21, 2011 1:00 pm
 


Zero? Eight? The 10 remaining games the Pittsburgh Penguins have left in the regular season and the playoffs? 

Exactly how long Pens forward Matt Cooke will be suspended for his elbow to the head of New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh Sunday afternoon overshadowed a solid day of hockey as all six games on the slate had some sort of playoff implications. Here's a look at the hit  in case you missed it. 

Cooke, the third rail that he is, will do that to a news cycle. 

A look at his checkered past -- which goes well beyond the fact he’s only been forced to sit 10 games during his career -- and there’s no way Cooke can be considered a victim. Still, he picked the worst time in league history to blindside a player, even though McDonagh remained in the game. Cooke received an elbowing major and a game misconduct for the third-period hit. 

Pens GM Ray Shero is just a few days removed from advocating a ban on all head hits  -- including hits similar to the check that has kept Pittsburgh superstar Sidney Crosby out for more than two months with a concussion -- at the league's general managers meeting. Majority owner Mario Lemieux even offered up a tiered fine system for teams whose players are suspended by the league. 

That fact it occurred on national TV where NBC analysts Eddie Olczyk and Pierre McGuire labeled the hit as dirty doesn’t help either. 

Line Changes

"I don't think you can talk about eliminating headshots as an organization and not expect that to be examined," coach Dan Bylsma told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review . "It looks to be contact right to the head. The league will look at that at treat it as such."

The Pens will likely soon get the ”clear and strong message” Lemieux wrote was lacking from the league after the NHL’s  response to last month’s fiasco between his team and the New York Islanders

If just about any other player -- maybe outside of maybe New York Islanders enforcer Trevor Gillies --  delivered the hit, this wouldn’t have lit up Facebook and Twitter like it did. The perceived hypocrisy for a team advocating for more stringent rules governing head hits despite continuing to employ Cooke was just too much for fans and pundits alike not seize upon. 

Here’s a quick roundup of opinions:

Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal :  
If this isn’t a suspension for the rest of the season, then the NHL’s Lord of Discipline, Colin Campbell, is really going soft. Maybe the real message for Cooke, though, would also be a detention for the playoffs, when the games really matter — when Cooke will hurt not only himself but his teammates by his absence in a lineup that is already short-staffed.

TSN’s Darren Dreger :
With the red-alert sensitivity to head hits, especially illegal head hits like the one that earned Cooke a major and game misconduct, it's conceivable the Penguins veteran, a repeat offender with a reputation for delivering cheapshots, could earn a 10-game suspension or more. That's based on league-wide reaction. 


Former NHL player Jeremy Roenick :

“I feel bad for Mario. He stuck his neck on the line to clean up dirty plays and his own player again puts him in a tough situation.”


Alec Schall, agent for injured Montreal Canadiens player Max Pacioretty

“Should NHL rules protect players like Cooke or Crosby? I say let's protect (Cosby) and when we want flying elbows to the head we can watch MMA.”


 Mike Brophy of Rogers Sportsnet :

The eyes of the hockey world will be on the NHL's hockey operations department to see how it handles the latest Cooke catastrophe. Anything shy of a major suspension (minimum 10 games) will not be met with support.

“I didn’t see him coming,” McDonagh said of Cooke. “I had no idea. I know it hurt, that’s for sure.”

I don't think you can talk about eliminating headshots as an organization and not expect that to be examined," coach Dan Bylsma said. "It looks to be contact right to the head. The league will look at that at treat it as such.

SUNDAY'S RESULTS

NY Rangers 5, Pittsburgh 2  
New Jersey 3, Columbus 0  
Nashville 4, Buffalo3 (OT)  
Montreal 8, Minnesota 1
Anaheim 5, Calgary 4 (OT)  
Chicago 2, Phoenix 1  

-- A.J. Perez
Photo: Getty Images
Comments
kkjyywlpo
Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 16, 2011 9:12 pm
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Since: Aug 30, 2010
Posted on: March 21, 2011 5:34 pm
 

Morning Skate: How long should Matt Cooke sit?

Looks like he got the rest of the season plus the entire 1st round of the playoffs.



Since: Aug 25, 2010
Posted on: March 21, 2011 5:06 pm
 

Morning Skate: How long should Matt Cooke sit?

I would normally say 10 games because the NHL is cracking down ... but because it's Cooke, who has the thickest of heads, not listening to the message his own organization is sending ... I'll say 15 games. That will effectively send a message to him that while his teammates are battling in the play-offs, he'll be hanging out behind the mental health centre, picking fights with people on the same whacked-out wave length. But the punishment is just starting. Then give him six months of anger management, two weeks of hand-washing Mario's fleet of cars and a 5,000 word essay on the Lady Byng Trophy for good measure. It's okay if he writes the same line 500 times because HE HAS NO CLUE.




Since: Jun 18, 2007
Posted on: March 21, 2011 4:26 pm
 

Morning Skate: How long should Matt Cooke sit?

                   I think Cooke should sit at least 8 games because that was a plan by Cooke to try to injure the player that he was hitting especially using the elbow. There is no place for players who play like this in the NHL. The fine should be a big one to teach these players a lesson that the league will not accept this kind of antics from their players. The league needs to clean up this behavior now before it gets worse.




Since: Feb 19, 2007
Posted on: March 21, 2011 3:40 pm
 

Morning Skate: How long should Matt Cooke sit?

Pens fan and I like the energy Cooke brings to the team.   He plays on the edge and goes over it a few too many times.  He is a good hockey player, but this stuff needs to end.

Us Ranger fans say the same EXACT thing about Sean Avery and get criticized every time we defend the guy. All I can say is I am glad he is on the bench and hope he rots there.



Since: Aug 14, 2006
Posted on: March 21, 2011 3:33 pm
 

Morning Skate: How long should Matt Cooke sit?

I am a Mario fan but now he needs to put his money where his mouth is and release this idiot from the Pens.  You can't come out and say what he said then have it happening multiple times by the same guy in your own franchise.  I enjoy the physical end Cooke brings to the table but he is dirty more often then not and with out the players being able to police themselves the league doesn't have enough bite.  If the Pens release him for this stuff and make it clear why then maybe this will send a message to the rest of the league owners that they have a say as well.  This guys has ended guys careers now it is time for him to be done.  Absolutely no place in the game for guys like this in my opinion.



Since: Oct 4, 2006
Posted on: March 21, 2011 3:19 pm
 

Morning Skate: How long should Matt Cooke sit?

You say your real problem with Lemieux is hypocrisy, when you have no idea what action he is going to take on this at all? Why not wait to pass judgement on someone AFTER the situation unfolds rather than before? Interesting how people are so eager to call out someone in authority and piower when they make a stand on something they truly believe in.

I noticed that Mario didn't make his big public stand until it hit close to home (Crosby).  He was awfully quiet when Cooke basically ended Mark Savard's career.

This dude should be suspended for the season.  Not just for the the previous incidents he's been flagged for already, but the numerous times he got away with it pre-head legislation.  It's clear this guy just doesn't get it.



Since: Sep 28, 2006
Posted on: March 21, 2011 3:03 pm
 

Morning Skate: How long should Matt Cooke sit?

Pens fan and I like the energy Cooke brings to the team.   He plays on the edge and goes over it a few too many times.  He is a good hockey player, but this stuff needs to end.

That being said the suspension should begin at the rest of the regular season.  And see if it goes up from there in the eyes of the NHL.



Since: Feb 10, 2007
Posted on: March 21, 2011 2:38 pm
 

Morning Skate: How long should Matt Cooke sit?

10 games minimum ... this is a guy that is a multiple offender of cheap shot dirty hits ... probably at leat 10  ... maybe closer to 20 ... he should be suspended a day for every one of em and ultimately be banned from the league eventually.    
BY FAR one of the worst offenders of cheap shots in the game.  



Since: Apr 21, 2009
Posted on: March 21, 2011 2:24 pm
 

Morning Skate: How long should Matt Cooke sit?

10 games.


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