Blog Entry

Time for Cooke to get the message

Posted on: March 21, 2011 7:04 pm

Political types like to say you should never let a good crisis go to waste, and it’s a lesson the Pittsburgh Penguins might to do well to learn. They have a mess on their hands named Matt Cooke, and may never get a better opportunity to dump him and all the problems he creates.

Mind you, Pittsburgh won’t have to worry about it at least until the first round of the playoffs end – a potential of 17 games -- because that’s how long Cooke the very stiff suspension handed down by the league for his latest brain-cramped attack on another player’s head will last.  And given all the injuries they have, the Penguins will probably be hard pressed to go deeper than that, so the issue could be moot for a while.

But even if the Penguins do manage some sort of playoff run, they will have to think seriously about buying out Cooke after this season ends. It will require paying the veteran a total of $2.4 million over the next four seasons, a price the organization has to be willing to pay given how forcefully owner Mario Lemieux came out against stupidity on the ice a few weeks ago.

Judging from the statement of general manager Ray Shero after the league announced the suspension, it seems like the organization is chomping at the bit to get rid of the headache-causing forward.

“The suspension is warranted because that’s exactly the kind of hit we’re trying to get out of the game,” Shero said. “We’ve told Matt in no uncertain terms that this kind of action on the ice is unacceptable and cannot happen and the Pittsburgh Penguins support the NHL in sending this very strong message.”

That’s not as easy as it seems for the Penguins, who are still hoping to finish first in the Atlantic Division and at least trying to hold on to the fourth seed in the conference because they are so shorthanded and now lose another player who actually does bring something to the table. Cooke is a grinding forward who can check and kill penalties while chipping in some offense from time to time.  But he has become the poster child for recklessness and an embarrassment to an organization that has been pushing to eliminate dangerous behavior from the game.

Cooke has already been forced by the NHL to sit four times in his 12-season career, including once this season for taking out Columbus’ Fedor Tyutin with a hit from behind. That’s the kind of hit the NHL has been desperate to eliminate since Cookie put Marc Savard’s career in jeopardy a year ago with one of them.

Cooke escaped punishment then because there was no rule outlawing blind side hits, but that changed coincidentally a few days later when the GMs met and crafted a new statute to do so.  Shero  tried unsuccessfully to get his counterparts to go even further and ban all head shots regardless of direction when they met again last week in Florida,  but what emerged instead from the GMs was an overwhelming consensus to see punishment for the blind sides made much more severe.

Apparently though Cooke wasn’t paying attention to what everyone else in the hockey world was, and on NBC’s game of the week Sunday, lined up Rangers rookie Ryan McDonough from the blind side before delivering an elbow to his head. It ended up taking about $220,000 in salary out of his pocket and taking the Penguins out of an important game.

In other words, Cooke has become more trouble than he’s worth. The Penguins may even be secretly happy Cooke will be gone down the stretch and for the start of the playoffs and unable to cost them games with dumb penalties. Pittsburgh may not survive the first round anyway with so many key players on the shelf, but if it does, Cooke’s diminishing value should be exposed even more.

Truth is the Penguins really don’t need players like Matt Cooke. No one really does.


Category: NHL

Since: Jan 5, 2009
Posted on: March 30, 2011 7:41 am

Time for Cooke to get the message

Sorry Redwings1969, been away for a while, hope you are still around:

> Barnaby and Domi may not have been perfect but they dropped the gloves

Cooke has 5 or 10 fighting majors this year.  He drops the gloves quite a bit.

they didn't do half the crap this Matt Cooke clown does on a regular basis. Keith Acton???? WHAT?  Give me a break man

:-) Are you kidding?  I once saw a game where Keith Acton followed Gretzky around the whole game and did nothing but slash him constantly.  Ty Domi not dirty?? what??  Barnaby played in Pgh for 2 years, I saw him consistently cheap shot anything that moved that he could get away with!!

Matt Cooke has FOUR suspensions in the last 3 seasons counting this one.

I'd be curious to hear what you have to say about the by far dirtiest player in hockey: Todd Bertuzzi.  Does your tune change when the player is on your team?  If anyone deserves to be thrown out of hockey for his past and present, it is Bertuzzi.  He makes Cooke look like a choir boy!!

Here, I can do YouTube too:

I personally don't mind Bertuzzi, but according to your logic, he should be banished from the game!!  Or, does your tune change when the player in question plays for the wings?

Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: March 22, 2011 1:53 pm

Time for Cooke to get the message

What Cooke did is stupid, I get it.  I have seen Matthew Barnaby, Dale Hunter, Keith Acton, Ty Dome, Ulf Sameulsson and thousands of others do the same thing in the NHL over the years, and if those guys were all still playing, they would have to adjust just like Cooke does.

What?????  Barnaby and Domi may not have been perfect but they dropped the gloves, they didn't do half the crap this Matt Cooke clown does on a regular basis.   Keith Acton???? WHAT?  Give me a break man....   Dale Hunter is a great comparison but don't forget the league had no problem suspending him more then once..... he set a record I believe back then with something like a 20 game suspension..... 
Quit making excuses and using terrible examples to back your nonesense up.   Mike Richards has completely made the adjustments necessary.....  he's not perfect, but he's no Matt Cooke anymore that's for sure. 
Matt Cooke has FOUR suspensions in the last 3 seasons counting this one...... two of them being this season... he's getting worse every year.
As for your Savard comment... none of that matters.  That's not why he's in trouble today.... he's in trouble for being a repeat offender this year...
And Cooke could have way more suspensions... are you honestly going to tell me he didn't try and take Ovie's knee out a few weeks ago?? The league couldn't prove intent when Cooke said it was just a reaction at the time, but if you have half a brain go look at it.... it was brutal.  Here it is for you.....  
Is he a good player?  Sure he is.... but soon enough the league is going to start fining owners for idiots like Cooke... and if you think Lemieux is going to pull money out of his pocket for that clown time after time, you're nuts.

Since: Jan 12, 2007
Posted on: March 22, 2011 1:11 pm

Time for Cooke to get the message

This certainly puts Mario in a pickle - he either needs to release Matt Cooke or his words speaking out against "stupidity on the ice" carry absolutely no weight.  Someone will pick him up though...maybe the Rangers even though they already have a player like that.

These types of hits will keep occurring as long as as players are not allowed to police themselves on the ice.  Now its up to several times a year, with one player being responsible for more than one per year.  20-25 years ago Cooke would have been pummelled by someone like McSorley, Probert, Grimson...take your pick.  That was also a time in the game when it would be rare to have one play per season like that.  Starting in the mid 90s they took fighting out...first you had Ulf Samuelsson and Darius Kasparaitis (BOTH of whom played for the Penguins with Mario BTW) taking out knees...then you had Todd Bertuzzi (who ended someone's career) you have Cooke.

I guess the NHL was trying to broaden its fan base by removing fighting, but I can't remember the last time I heard fans boo a good old fashioned fair fight.

Since: Jan 5, 2009
Posted on: March 22, 2011 12:56 pm

Time for Cooke to get the message

> Cooke has become more trouble than he’s worth

I don't agree with this statement.  I agree that the Pen's will evaluate whether they want to keep Cooke, but the guy is a very good hockey player when he doesn't do stupid stuff.  If the fact that he hurts the team by having to sit out games is true, why would getting rid of him be the answer?? 

What Cooke did is stupid, I get it.  I have seen Matthew Barnaby, Dale Hunter, Keith Acton, Ty Dome, Ulf Sameulsson and thousands of others do the same thing in the NHL over the years, and if those guys were all still playing, they would have to adjust just like Cooke does.

I think what ticks everyone off about Cooke is the Saavard hit, and the consequences to Saavard.  I feel really bad for Saavard, and I think he is a great hockey player and can only hope that he can regain his former form.  But, that hit was legal at the time!  Two weeks before that hit, Mike Richards did the same thing to David Booth.  I hear nobody going after Richards on these or any other boards.  I grant you that Richards has made the adjustment to the new rules more quickly than Cooke, but if you are going to hold grudges against Cooke, then there are a whole slew of offenders out there that should be on your list.

I think that Cooke will get his act straightened out eventually.  He is a heck of a hockey player, I just hope he remains with Pittsburgh...

Since: Nov 16, 2006
Posted on: March 22, 2011 12:35 pm

Time for Cooke to get the message

Mario had no trouble speaking for himself when it was his team being "victimized," and calling for teams and owners to be fined; let him come forward now and own what he said now that it's his team with the offender. All the hockey fans are waiting for him to speak and he needs to do so to regain any respect.

Since: Sep 5, 2006
Posted on: March 22, 2011 12:09 pm

Time for Cooke to get the message

Yep, and my first coaches didn't even allow us to carry a stick when we first learned how to check, because elbows and sticks are not a part of checking. Shoulders and hips check. Elbows and sticks injure. That's how you learn to play with respect for the game and respect for your opponent.

Since: Dec 16, 2009
Posted on: March 22, 2011 11:52 am

Time for Cooke to get the message

Well, we've made comments about it in the last week or so, and now the commentators have jumped on board about the teams getting punished, and in particular, not being able to fill the roster spot once a repeat offenser gets another suspension. Maybe, once the team keeps feeling the punishment for the players actions, he may finally get the message. Try some checking drills in practice. Heck, when they first taught us how to check in Pee Wees, they tied a rope around our wrist and tied that rope around our waists, so we couldn't even think about raising an elbow if we tried.

Since: Mar 17, 2007
Posted on: March 22, 2011 11:27 am

Time for Cooke to get the message

Mario responded through his GM's statement. 

Since: Sep 5, 2006
Posted on: March 22, 2011 10:16 am

Time for Cooke to get the message

Taking another cheap run at someone's head is not an "error." Trying to clear the puck and putting it on the blade of your opponent is an error. Taking a run at someone's head is taking a run at someone's head, and it was not in the heat of battle, either. The puck was gone. The two players were not tied up or jostling for position. He just skated up on him and elbowed him in the head for no reason. If he can't stop himself from elbowing someone in the head for no reason then he has no place in the NHL. Period. He belongs in a mental institution if he just can't control himself from trying to cripple people. What part of that don't you understand? And NO ONE ever "taught" him to take a run at someone's head. I promise you that. Your absurd defense of this piece of shit is shameful.

Since: Mar 24, 2008
Posted on: March 22, 2011 9:15 am

Time for Cooke to get the message

Wes... Wes... Wes
Being of a sound hockey mind, let's not over-react here... Matt Cooke is a tenacious competitior that makes some very poor decisions... to say he is no longer needed on the Penguins let alone in the NHL is a bit crazy.
I will be the first to say, please see other posts that Matt Cooke made a horrific error... he failed to control his emotions and as a result he is suffering the consequences. Yes he is a repeat offender, his hit on Savard last year while violent was within the rules of the game at the time. Matt Cooke has been playing hockey for 20 some odd years and he has been taught to be physical, it is not as easy as don't do that any more.
I think the suspension is warranted, I will not gripe about the length of the suspension or the timing of it, he is going to have a chance to realize that his actions have reprecussions as he watches his team play without him. I can say that I hope he learns from his mistake and becomes a better player.
As I watched the Penguins last night versus the Red Wings, it was ironic to see Todd Bertuzzi skating on the ice Matt Cooke is not allowed on... come on hockey fans think back just a few years... Was Bertuzzi's attack less offensive??? I think not. Hockey has been littered with incidents that have made us gasp, Dale Hunter post goal attack on Pierre Turgeon, Marty McSorley clubbing down Donald Brashear.
Hockey is a sport that creates violence and players have to be controlled with penalty calls by referees, the NHL policing rule (thus the goons on many teams) and in some cases suspensions. Matt Cooke will be suspended for his actions, he will return and have a chance to play the game again, I for one hope he too gets a chance to make amends by changing his game by eliminating the 'stupid mistakes' he has made in his past.

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