Blog Entry

Checking in on Matt Cooke and his new style

Posted on: November 16, 2011 10:07 pm
Edited on: November 16, 2011 10:21 pm
 
cooke1By: Adam Gretz

Throughout his career Pittsburgh Penguins forward Matt Cooke has usually been used as an example of what not to do on the ice when it comes to physical play. He's been suspended five times, including the final 10 games of the regular season, and all seven of Pittsburgh's playoff games last year, and is perhaps known most for the hit on Boston's Marc Savard that started his still on-going battle with concussions, and also helped spark the NHL's rule changes regarding hits to the head (rule 48).

Following his most recent suspension, one that hurt the Penguins in their opening round playoff loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning, Cooke vowed to change his ways and clean up the way he plays hockey. His claim was greeted -- and rightfully so -- with a sense of, show us, don't tell us, and actions speak louder than words.

A month-and-a-half into the season and he is now actually being used as a positive example of what to do on the ice. At least in the eyes of the Penguins. 

In an article penned by the Canadian Press on Wednesday, Penguins general manager Ray Shero cited Cooke's early season play as an example the NHL can use for what Brendan Shanahan is trying to accomplish with player safety.

From Shero, via the CP:
"For Brendan Shanahan and player safety, here's a guy that they can show on some highlights and the videos, where he's not taking the hit or he is pulling up (in dangerous situations)," said Shero. "He's still got a ways to go. But in the first portion of the season here and exhibition as well, he has changed the way he's played and he's still a really good effective player for us in his role.

"That's good news for us and it's good news for Brendan Shanahan in terms of what he's trying to do."
Through 18 games this season Cooke has not done anything remotely dirty, and has been sent to the penalty box just two times -- once for interference and once for unsportsmanlike conduct for diving -- for a grand total of four penalty minutes. Over the past four seasons through the same number of games he registered 23, 22, 25 and 24 penalty minutes.  Along with that, he also has a positive differential in the number of penalties he's drawn compared to the number of penalties he's taken for the first time in four years.

(Penalty numbers via BehindTheNet)

Matt Cooke Penalties Drawn vs. Penalties Taken: Past Four Years
Year Penalties Taken per 60 Min. Penalties Drawn per 60 Min. Difference
2011-12 (18 Games) 0.3 1.4 +1.1
2010-11 1.8 1.2 -0.6
2009-10 1.4 1.1 -0.3
2008-09 1.6 1.3 -0.3
2007-08 1.4 1.2 -0.2

This is definitely a positive development and a good start for the Penguins, as well as Cooke, because he's always been a valuable player when he isn't sidelined with a suspension or sitting in the penalty box following an ill-timed penalty (he can score, and he's one of the top penalty killers on the best penalty killing team in the league).

But it's going to take a lot more than 18 games for fans -- if not opposing players as well -- around the NHL to believe that he really has turned the page and become a different player.

Photo: Getty Images

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Comments

Since: Apr 30, 2007
Posted on: November 18, 2011 9:13 am
 

Checking in on Matt Cooke and his new style

Oh, and it is hilarious to see people comparing a legal play in a game to a murderer and a dog killer. Really shows the intelligence level of some people.



Since: Apr 30, 2007
Posted on: November 18, 2011 9:08 am
 

Checking in on Matt Cooke and his new style

Wow, some people are just not forgiving.

I'm sure the second concussion Savard suffered when he returned from the Cooke hit has nothing to do with his head problems.



Since: May 27, 2011
Posted on: November 18, 2011 7:40 am
 

Checking in on Matt Cooke and his new style

Great article, I have an idea for your next one. OJ Simpson hasn't killed anyone (that we know of) in the last decade, you should write a feel good story about him too. Matt Cooke is a poor excuse for a person let alone a hockey player. Its sad that you couldn't find a more deserving person to write about.



Since: May 27, 2011
Posted on: November 18, 2011 7:40 am
 

Checking in on Matt Cooke and his new style

Great article, I have an idea for your next one. OJ Simpson hasn't killed anyone (that we know of) in the last decade, you should write a feel good story about him too. Matt Cooke is a poor excuse for a person let alone a hockey player. Its sad that you couldn't find a more deserving person to write about.



Since: Jan 23, 2008
Posted on: November 18, 2011 1:31 am
 

Checking in on Matt Cooke and his new style

It's swell that Cooke is no longer trying to end people's careers. Though, to start treating him like he's a stand up guy is just foolish. 


That hit on Savard was filthy too, there's no defending it.     




Since: Nov 16, 2011
Posted on: November 18, 2011 1:25 am
 

Checking in on Matt Cooke and his new style

One thing Cooke's hit on Savard was 100 percent DIRTY , as iS most of his hits ..... He will wind up in the Ahl by the end of the year if he tries to play clean hockey lol



Since: Dec 10, 2007
Posted on: November 17, 2011 10:54 pm
 

Checking in on Matt Cooke and his new style

Cooke deserves no Kudos for his change in play.  It's the very least he could do. Commending a guy whose done horrible, reckless damage to the game just because he's no longer doing it is disturbing and unnecessary. 

cooke's hit on savard= 100% legal. 

and you seem so keen on analogies, so how about this one.

your dog learns to become house trained and do his business outside, should he be honored?

yes.

correcting a wrong and turning it into a right is honorable. 



Since: Jan 23, 2008
Posted on: November 17, 2011 10:42 pm
 

Checking in on Matt Cooke and his new style

Jimmyg17, you lack the brain power to comprehend the point I was making. Let me try again using a non sports story so you dont misinterpret anything. Maybe get your mom to help you figure it out.


The BP oil spill has ceased, should we honor BP oil as well ?




Since: Aug 29, 2006
Posted on: November 17, 2011 9:52 pm
 

Checking in on Matt Cooke and his new style

Cooke has vowed to clean up after every suspension. The fact that it is eventually followed by a suspension means actions speak louder than words. 18 games after years is enough to prove he has changed after years of stupidity? I'm not buying it. 



Since: Dec 10, 2007
Posted on: November 17, 2011 9:50 pm
 

Checking in on Matt Cooke and his new style

suddenly he goes to Pittsburgh and for some unknown reason got very stupid and did ridiculous things.

great post redwings and for the most part i agree, but this one part i dont agree with. cooke really didn't get his "head hunter" rep until he came here. however, back when he played with VAN and WSH, he had some nasty knee on knee hits. he hasnt been innocent for much of his nhl career and it is awesome to see him change his game. there were a bunch of times so far that he could've leveled a guy but he went for the puck instead of the guys head. matt cooke has a lot of talent and it is good to see that he is using his hockey talent and not his hitting talent.  

 Still hoping I see the day Cooke's head is separated from the rest of his body by another player.  After what Cooke did to Savard, (as well as to other players), I have nothing but contempt for this JERK.

a bruins fan wants revenge on cooke for giving savard a concussion by hoping that someone gives matt cooke a concussion...
ironic and hypocritical?  very much so.

stop bitching like a 2 year old and get over it.  


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