Update: Nick Kypreos of Rogers Sportsnet reports that Matt Cooke has been suspended by the NHL for the rest of regular season and the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

During Sunday’s Penguins vs. Rangers game, Matt Cooke was up to his old tricks. The 32 year-old former Capital delivered an elbow to the head of a defenseless Ryan McDonagh. The Ranger player went down like a sack of potatoes but fortunately was uninjured. Cooke received a five minute major for elbowing on the play and a game misconduct. As Daniel Tolensky points out, Cooke has played in 881 NHL games yet has only been suspended a total of ten matches in his career. The League obviously deserves some of the blame for allowing Cooke’s dirty play to continue without significant consequences for his actions.

A month ago, Pens owner Mario Lemieux criticized the NHL for being too soft on the Islanders’ players that participated in the mega-brawl between New York and Pittsburgh. Just a week ago, Sidney Crosby said the NHL needed to fight deliberate head-shots. But now their own player, Matt Cooke, is once again under Colin Campbell’s review. Below, we’ve chronicled Cookie’s dirty deeds throughout the years.


02/08/11 – Matt Cooke boards Fedor Tyutin who has his back turned

NHL Supplemental Discipline: Four-game suspension
Penalties called on the ice: Five minute major for charging, five minute major for fighting

Two days after getting national attention for his dirty knee-on-knee collision with Alex Ovechkin, Cooke boarded Fedor Tyutin head-first. Cooke received a five minute major for charging and a five minute major for fighting after being engaged by Derick Brassard.

From the Columbus Dispatch after the game:

“It was the worst hit I’ve ever had from behind,” said Tyutin, who had an ice pack on his shoulder. “I wasn’t surprised, not when you see (Cooke) in the highlights all the time for dirty hits.”

Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said that Tyutin looked Cooke “right in the eyes” and knew the hit was coming.

Sure, Dan.


02/06/2011 – Matt Cooke’s knee-on-knee hit on Alex Ovechkin

NHL Supplemental Discipline: None
Penalties called on the ice: Two-minute minor for tripping

With 3:45 left in the third period of a 2-0 game, Matt Cooke hit Alex Ovechkin hard knee-on-knee. Cooke was accessed a minor penalty on the play and angrily confronted by Ovi. Luckily for the Capitals, the Russian Machine never breaks and he didn’t miss a game due to injury.

The Washington Post had reaction from both locker-rooms after the game:

Ovechkin played another shift before the contest expired and appeared fine afterward, but Coach Bruce Boudreau didn’t mince words when asked about the hit in his post-game press conference.

“It was Matt Cooke. Need we say more? It’s not like it’s his first rodeo,” Boudreau said. “He’s done it to everybody and then he goes to the ref and says: ‘What did I do?’ He knows damn well what he did. There’s no doubt in my mind that he’s good at it and he knows how to do it. He knows how to pick this stuff. We as a league, we still buy into this [idea] that, ‘Oh it was an accidental thing.’”

Both Cooke and Coach Dan Bylsma downplayed the contact.

“I just tracked the puck and he tried to cut back on me,” Cooke said. “We clipped skates.”

Said Bylsma: “I didn’t think much contact was made. Maybe their skates get wound up together. But, you know, Ovechkin was out on the ensuing power play.”

Someone seems like an enabler here.


02/04/11 – Matt Cooke cheap-shots Steve Montador

NHL Supplemental Discipline: None
Penalties called on the ice: Two minutes for roughing, 10 minute misconduct

In this incident, Cooke does a few gutless things. First, he cross-checks Jordan Leopold from behind after Leopold takes down one of his teammates. Next, after Steve Montador engages him, Cooke lands an overhand right punch to an unsuspecting Montador after the linesmen separate the two.

Classy.


12/28/2010 – Matt Cooke elbows Evander Kane in the head

NHL Supplemental Discipline: None
Penalties called on the ice: None

As both players go for a puck along the boards, Cooke raises his elbow and strikes an unaware Kane in the jaw. No penalty would be called on the play, however later in the period, Cooke would be whistled for kneeing. Go figure.


12/21/2010 – Matt Cooke elbows Keith Yandle in the head

NHL Supplemental Discipline: None
Penalties called on the ice: Two-minute minor for roughing

As both Phoenix defenseman Keith Yandle and Cooke go for a puck in the corner, Cooke delivers an elbow to the back of Yandle’s head. It certainly appears that the Phoenix defenseman was woozy afterwards. The announcer describes Cooke as “[getting] the arms up a little bit.” A little bit?

NESN had reaction in Phoenix’s locker-room after the game:

“It’s just a dirty hit,” Yandle said after the 6-1 Penguins win, according to the McKeesport Daily News. “Dirty player. He’s got no respect. … His only intent was to hurt me with his hands high like that, and I hope [league officials] review it.”

What had the Coyotes fired up — aside from getting demolished on the scoreboard — was that Cooke wouldn’t answer the bell after laying the questionable hit.

“The fact that Matt Cooke comes at Keith Yandle in a 5-0 game and elbows him in the head, obviously we took it as a personal challenge,” captain Shane Doan told the newspaper.

“They’re up 5-0, and he cowers away from all our guys,” Yandle said. “I mean, every guy on our team tried to fight him.”

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette quoted Bylsma as saying:

“We encourage our players not to finish checks on the penalty-kill, so from that standpoint we didn’t like putting ourselves in that situation,” Bylsma said Tuesday after the Penguins practiced at Consol Energy Center.


11/26/10 – Matt Cooke drives Erik Karlsson’s head into the boards

NHL Supplemental Discipline: None
Penalties called on the ice: Two-minute minor for boarding

After Max Talbot cleanly checks Erik Karlsson into the boards, Cooke follows-up a half second later with a hit of his own. Cooke drives Karlsson’s head into the boards and knocks him out. Cooke would recieve a two-minute minor penalty for boarding.


10/11/10 – Matt Cooke interferes with Rick DiPietro three times

NHL Supplemental Discipline: None
Penalties called on the ice: Cooke was given three separate minor penalties for goalie interference.

I won’t offer a description on the series of events above because there are no words satisfactory enough for how idiotic Cooke is being.

These hits however, would spark bad blood between the two teams and ignite two separate brawls a year later. The first brawl was on February 2, 2011 and it started after DePietro clotheslined Cooke. Brent Johnson would come to his teammate’s aid and knock DePietro out, injuring him for six weeks. The Islanders then sought immediate retribution during the teams’ rematch nine days later. In the end, 346 penalty minutes were doled out, and several players were later suspended by the league including Eric Godard (ten games), Trevor Gillies (nine games), and Matt Martin (four games). In addition to the suspensions, NHL disciplinarians fined the Islanders $100,000 for “their failure to control their players.”


03/07/10 – Matt Cooke elbows Marc Savard in the head

NHL Supplemental Discipline: None
Penalties called on the ice: None

This is the play that would change the NHL rulebooks forever. As Marc Savard entered the offensive zone, he took a shot on net and then was greeted by a blindside elbow from Cooke. Savard was left motionless and unconscious on the ice. The Bruins best offensive weapon then missed the rest of the season with a concussion, and has not been the same player since.

Bruins blog captured Claude Julien’s reaction after the game:

“A guy like that has to be suspended,” the Bruins coach said. “That’s the way I see it, because it’s an elbow to the head from the blind side. That’s exactly the examples they show of what we’ve got to get out of this game. We have a guy who’s got a concussion. Our best player. He’s going to be out for a while. He was [unconscious] on the ice for a bit. That’s unacceptable.”

Not suspending Cooke was, in my opinion, a disgrace to the league and the biggest mistake of Colin Campbell’s career. Those e-mails about Savard made the whole thing even harder to swallow, too.


02/06/10 – Matt Cooke cross-checks Andrei Markov in the back from behind

NHL Supplemental Discipline: None
Penalties called on the ice: None

As Andrei Markov looks to cycle the puck behind the net, Cooke delivers a cross-check to Markov’s left side, leaving him writhing in pain on the ice. There was no penalty called on the play.


11/28/2009 – Matt Cooke elbows Artem Anisimov in the head

NHL Supplemental Discipline: Two-game suspension
Penalties called on the ice: Two-minute minor for interference.

This hit, which seems like a carbon-copy of the one he laid Marc Savard out on, resulted in Cooke being suspended for two games.

Larry Brooks of the New York Post wrote this about the hit:

Cooke was somehow accessed only a two-minute minor for interference on the play by the officiating tandem of David Banfield and Stephen Walkom, the latter of whom served as the NHL VP of Officiating the past several seasons before returning to the ice this season.

Donald Brashear sought retribution upon Cooke’s release from the penalty box, but was prevented from doing so by an over-eager linesman. As a result, Brashear was issued a double minor for roughing while Cooke escaped unscathed. The Penguins then scored on both ends of the power play.

Of course they did.


06/02/09 – Matt Cooke tries to decapitate Chris Osgood with his skate

NHL Supplemental Discipline: None
Penalties called on the ice: None

Just a hockey play, right?

Pensburgh had this to say about the incident:

One of the questions Coach Babcock was asked in yesterday’s presser was whether or not he saw Matt Cooke “kick” Chris Osgood. He admitted he wasn’t sure, but also made a face as if to say, “Oh. Matt Cooke. Right, that guy.” With Cooke you never really can tell.

Well, if that’s not blatant homerism, I don’t know what is.


05/18/09 – Matt Cooke’s knee-on-knee hit on Erik Cole

NHL Supplemental Discipline: None
Penalties called on the ice: None

In Game One of the 2009 Eastern Conference Finals, the Hurricanes lost Erik Cole midway through the third period. Why? Well, Matt Cooke caught him knee-on-knee in front of the Pittsburgh net. Cole managed to play only one shift after the hit.

Canes Now had the reaction from both locker-rooms:

Asked if he thought it was a knee-on-knee hit, with the implication that it was an illegal one, a curt [Carolina coach Paul] Maurice said, “Yes, I did. I felt that was, yeah.”

Cole officially has a “lower body” injury, but he clearly hurt his left knee in the collision. Cooke said the contact was accidental.

“He was cutting across the middle,” Cooke said. “I turned sideways to hit him, and he turned the other way. I almost fell over, too.”

Totally.


3/16/09 – Matt Cooke’s knee-on-knee hit on Zach Bogosian

NHL Supplemental Discipline: None
Penalties called on the ice: Two-minute minor for tripping

After absorbing this knee-on-knee hit from Matt Cooke, Zach Bogosian left the game in the 2nd period and did not return. A Pens fan says in the comments on YouTube that this was a clean hit. His assessment is incorrect.


11/29/08 – Matt Cooke blind-sides Zach Parise into the bench

NHL Supplemental Discipline: None
Penalties called on the ice: Two-minute minor for roughing

In the above video, Cooke drives Zach Parise into the Devils bench several seconds after Parise dumps the puck into the offensive zone. Yes, he chose to still hit him even though the bench door was open. Hey, at least the Penguins announcers dubbed it the “Subway Sandwich of the Game.”


02/16/08 – Matt Cooke drives Mathieu Roy’s head into the boards

NHL Supplemental Discipline: None
Penalties called on the ice: None

Here Cooke drives a defenseless Mathieu Roy head-first into the boards after chasing the puck in the corner. The game featured 14 fighting majors, eight misconduct penalties and 193 penalty minutes. Oilers Coach Craig MacTavish had this to say afterwards:

“I didn’t see anything dirty in the game,” said Oilers coach Craig MacTavish, who only took exception to an uncalled hit from behind by Matt Cooke on defenseman Mathieu Roy. “There was no back stabbing, there were eyeball to eyeball altercations and fights, and that’s part of hockey.”


In a feature published March 14, 2011 entitled “The Public Enemy,” Sports Illustrated spoke to both Erik Cole and Mike Keane. They had this to say about Cooke:

“There are times,” Cole says, “when I think he just doesn’t care if a guy is in a vulnerable position.”

“Matt Cooke has found his niche and [plays] his role very effectively,” says Mike Keane, who played 16 NHL seasons, including one as Cooke’s teammate on the Canucks in 2003-04. “He goes out and hits Ovechkin, hits guys from behind. If he hurts Ovechkin, who cares? The Washington Capitals won’t win the Stanley Cup. He did his job. For Matt Cooke, that’s perfect.”

And that’s the point of our post.

The NHL has to protect their assets on the ice. All they’ve done is constantly enable Cooke’s dangerous behavior over the years. They are the ones responsible for the monster he’s become. At some point you have to hand him a lengthy suspension, otherwise the message won’t get through. And — so far — the league is unwilling to do that.

Until then, let’s all get enraged by how few games Campbell suspends Cooke for his latest hit. And we’ll gladly eat our words if the NHL gets it right.

Additional reporting by Chris Gordon and Fedor Fedin.

  • McBride

    FYI: It’s the Columbus Dispatch. The Blue Jackets moved out of Bogota in ’05

  • Darla

    access =/= assess.

  • http://twitter.com/chris_gordon Chris Gordon

    @McBride – I thought they were still there with the national coverage they get.

  • http://twitter.com/chris_gordon Chris Gordon

    @Darla – Fixed. Now I see what happens when I accidentally and prematurely click “publish”. Oops.

  • McBride

    @Chris It’s really a shame they wasted so many years with Doug MacLean. So much terrible hockey has been played in one of the league’s best newer barns.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Ian

    I really enjoyed this tweet:

    @TPBderek If Cooke tried to score as hard as he tried to injure people, Sid might have a run for his money. BOOM.less than a minute ago via web

  • McBride

    Who is Sid?

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Ian

    @McBride – Sidney Crosby

  • http://twitter.com/chris_gordon Chris Gordon

    Big stick-tap to Ian, who did some nice work (especially in compiling all the videos and quotes).

  • http://crzyjewishotaku.deviantart.com Rachel Cohen

    I’ve said it a billion times, and I’ll say it again: Cooke shouldn’t be allowed to set foot on ice again. He is a disgrace to his fellow teammates, the NHL, and the sport of hockey. The fact that the league has allowed him to play like this for so long is deplorable. Unless they suspend him, and suspend him LONG, he’s never gonna learn his lesson (and even, then, he probably won’t).

    Also, the fact that many Pittsburgh fans (as well as his coach) think this is okay is also horrible. Despite the fact that you may not like the other team, thinking it’s okay that another player is injured is wrong on so many levels. If I had a dollar for every time I saw a comment by a Pens fan during a Pitt/Whomever game on a clean or accidental hit/said player throwing hit being called dirty, then Cooke pulls something nasty and that’s considered not dirty…. I would be a very rich woman (not generalizing… but I’ve seen so much of it).

    NHL, It’s up to you. Either throw the rulebook at goons like Cooke and take up some responsibility, or face the consequences. This needs to stop, and it needs to stop now before someone else gets hurt.

  • Gracie

    I used to think the player I hated the most was Sean Avery, with Cooke was a close 2nd. After watching these I think Cooke takes the cake. Avery is an idiotic loud mouth. Cooke is trying to end careers.

    Theres a good montage of his dirty plays. Down side, you’ll have to listen to Don Cherry

  • Gracie
  • Gary

    If the NHL won’t discipline him, it’s time for the players to police their game. There are times when you just watch the stuff he pulls off on a regular basis and wonder how some NHL players haven’t gotten angry to the point where they really f**k him up.

  • Gary

    Also, please email this whole thing to Colin Campbell? Hopefully someone in his office sees it and realizes the full magnitude of what they are letting slide.

  • Tim

    Cooke was also suspended 2 games for a hit against Scott Walker. From what I understand the league was just trying to make a statement.

  • Avtopilot

    Just thinking – where is a border between a hockey penalty and a crime.

    For example in case of Savard – is it OK to go to the court and suit the offender and his club?
    What if an intentional kick slides open smbd’s throat making a bloodbath all over the rink – will it be the right time?
    I mean – shall we wait for a murder to happen on ice or intentional illegal attack with severe damage to health is a big enough reason to make people responsible?

    Yes, hockey is a contact sport – but what you see in the youtube above is illegal to NHL rules. Then it’s only the matter of proving, that it can be classified as a crime.
    Evidence of intention to hurt (crime) is all over there – matt cooke shall be taken to the court and pay till the end of his life to the families of the players he intentionally injured.

  • 1995hoo

    Avtopilot, you may be confusing a civil action (where one person sues another, usually for money damages) with a criminal prosecution (where the state, or the Crown if it’s Canada, brings charges against a person to send him to jail and/or have him pay a fine; note that the fine goes to the government, not to the other individual). There’s precedent for a player being prosecuted for on-ice actions. While he was with the North Stars, Dino Ciccarelli attacked a Maple Leafs defenseman with his stick, was prosecuted by the Crown, was convicted of assault, and paid a $10,000 fine and served one day in jail.

    Steve Moore has filed civil actions against Todd Bertuzzi. Those are still winding their way through the court systems (nothing like speedy justice). Bertuzzi also faced criminal prosecution in British Columbia but plea-bargained to avoid jail time.

    One of the problems a player bringing a civil action faces is that there’s some level of “assumption of risk” involved in hockey, or any other sport, even when the conduct at issue violates the rules. That is, rule violations are an inherent part of the game and that’s why penalties are called. Courts will frequently find that a player knowingly accepted the risk of serious injury due even to impermissible actions such as some of Cooke’s. (Consider a sport like boxing, where hurting the other guy is essentially a fighter’s goal.) None of this is to say that it’s impossible for a court to allow such a civil suit to go forward in the right situation where the facts are particularly egregious. It’s just a difficult proposition because of the nature of sports. “Assumption of risk” is a standard tort doctrine that applies in many areas where the risk is clear or where it’s been disclosed and you then took an action anyway (for example, a fan attending a baseball game who gets injured by a foul ball generally loses if he sues because he accepted the risk of being hit). Pro sports are just a situation where the doctrine is applied more strictly.

  • helo29

    Great job putting this all together – it really paints a horrible picture for not only Cooke, but for the NHL as an organization.

    Have to laugh at all the clips with the Pens announcers. “DiPietro really sold that one.” “I guess Cooke is going to get a penalty.” “Cooke might have got him with his head down.” The complete detachment from reality is absurd.

  • Greg

    @avtopilot – I assume there is some sort of waiver that players are required to sign either at the beginning of their career or in each subsequent season that waives their right to sue/charge the NHL or any member of the NHLPA for injuries sustained while playing the sport.

    I’m sure it’s a bit of a grey area when the hits are cheap shots like Cooke delivers on a regular basis… but I doubt any criminal prosecution could be levied against him or anyone else.

  • Jerry

    Nice work guys. I’m thinking he sits the rest of the regular season – even if Campbell won’t do it. Mario has to own up at this point.

    If I was Mario I’d suspend their homer announcers as well. Call it like you see it boys! If Pens fans get bad reps it starts with them.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Ian

    My favorite part of doing all the research was seeing what creative responses Disco Dan would come up with to defend Cooke. After you see all of this video, it’s clear the Penguins either have absolutely no control over him or they’re okay with what he does. It makes Mario’s comments last month look even more hypocritical IMO.

  • Avtopilot

    Thanks, 1995hoo, definitely I’m not a master of laws especially in US/Canada.

    “Assumption of risk” is the reason why there are so few cases in soccer, hockey, footbal and other contact sports, when the player’s actions are reviewed in the court.
    But it’s a grey area and as you just mentioned with Dino, there are some examples of making an exception. A nice 1-day exception in DC jail will make Matt Cooke a different person.

    P.S. and some message shall be send to Mr. Bylsma too (e.g. the club doesn’t control the players = 100.000 fine)

  • JenK

    I don’t know why I never put 2 and 2 together on this before, but how in the sam hell does the NHL suspend Matt Cooke for his “deliberate check to the head” of Anisimov and then just four months later say that his identical check to the head of Savard was not an illegal hit?

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Ian

    For comparison’s sake:

    Mike Green suspended three games for this elbow to Frolik:

    Alex Ovechkin suspended two games for this check to Brian Campbell:

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Ian

    Both of the hits above are suspendable hits in my opinion and I don’t really have any problem with any of the time served there. Just in comparison to what Cooke has done and gotten away with, 5 games lost for those two hits seems ridiculously harsh. Especially considering how clean Green and Ovi play.

  • http://www.onfrozenblog.com/2011/03/20/bye-bye-matt-cooke-embarrassment-to-hockey.html Mike Rucki

    This is Lemieux’s chance to stop being a hypocrite: Bench/suspend Cooke for the rest of the season, then try to dump his contract in the offseason.

    Will it happen? No. But I’d love to be proven wrong.

  • Tim

    Appreciate the compilation, but you’re missing the cheapshot on Scott Walker.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Ian

    @Tim – I couldn’t find video of that particular cheap-shot. You know where it is by any chance?

  • Amanda

    http://www.gifsoup.com/view4/2033686/mattyb-o.gif
    (Brads hitting Cooke)

    Matt Bradley is the greatest <3

  • Martin

    I’m thinking here’s the only thing that will “help” Matt understand:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xW9Sp-WndwA

  • Bucky Katt

    Well if you thought Disco Dan was creative….here’s a new high for Disco boy, cause it’s all just a learning deficiency don’t ya know.

    Bought to you courtesy of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review:

    “Bylsma said he will work with Cooke, who is experiencing a “learning curve” in an NHL where blindside hits are no longer tolerated.

    He’s played on the edge physically and been an effective player playing that way; and now a lot of him is re-thinking where he can hit and be effective,” Bylsma said of Cooke. “He’s not been all that comfortable with that situation.”

    OOOOOOKKKKK.. I get it. He’s still “learning”. And I also have some ocean front property in Arizona that I’d like to sell you Dan.

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  • scpensfan

    I am a supporter of Matt Cooke.

    I recognize that he is dirty, but every team has a player like that. There is no player that plays that way that is as good of a “hockey player” as Matt Cooke.

    29 other teams have to waste a roster spot on a “dirty” player like him… ours kills penalties, is second in the league in short-handed points, and can be counted on to score the occasional goal…

    If you are a fan of a team that does not have a player that walks a fine line, then you shall be the first to cast a stone.

    Every video up there is worthy of a “Matt Cooke” low-light reel… every video, with the exception of the DiPietro flopping… that was embarrassing how Those penalties were doled. With the exception of the shove of Paranteau, Dipietro was the antagonist in those “interference” penalties. Clearly outside the crease, and engaging “#24″ in powder blue… That gets a call every time, especially when you are made of silk and glass, and struggle to stand when there is a gentle breeze.

    I hope Cooke gets at least 6 games… if I were giving out discipline, it would be 4 for the hit and 4 for being a moron.

  • Boo2You

    “…and now a lot of him is re-thinking where he can hit and be effective…”

    And I wonder if the rest of him is thinking why did it take the powers-that-be this long to have an in-person meeting with a s**tty, less-than-skilled, consistently whiny, good-for-nothing scrub like me?”

    If he were still with the Caps, I think it’s a safe bet that ol’ Cookie would have received a suspension equal to the one Gillies received long before now.

  • Elyssa

    If you all haven’t seen yet, Cooke’s been suspended the remainder of the regular season and Round 1 of the Playoffs…should’ve just been all of the Playoffs in my opinion, but at least the league brought down the hammer.

  • Tommy Rhodes

    The suspension entails “at least 14 games”

  • Scooter

    Surprised you didn’t show the Lecavalier hit in here. Not near as dirty, but intent to injure and it took him out. It was when he was with the Caps, but it shows his “borderline” play. No penalty was assessed i believe.

  • BobbyG

    I agree with Elyssa, Cooke should have been suspended for the rest of the regular season and ALL of the playoffs. However, the fact he’ll be out through Round 1 signals the NHL means business and isn’t willing to overlook his past and present history as a dirty player. Good-bye and good riddance to this reckless and irresponsible goon.

  • Jen

    Other than the Lecavalier hit, did Cooke do anything questionable while he was with the Caps? (It’s only fair if we look at our own team as well!) Also, what was the reason he was not resigned with the Caps?

  • exwhaler

    @scpensfan…you forget that Matt Cooke was once a Capital. While there were some who felt the way you do (that a player like him is necessary), many, including me, did not. I was extremely happy that the Capitals chose to keep Matt Bradley over Matt Cooke. The Capitals have an agitator in Matt Hendricks, but, as a player from another team once said, “He’s like an honorable Matt Cooke.” What Cooke does, and does frequently is not acceptable–by any stretch.

    I don’t care what else he contributes. His history of constantly attempting to intentionally injure players overrules any of that. It’s like praising Al Capone for his support of children’s orphanages. It doesn’t excuse the blood.

  • Grapejoos

    This is an admirable post. I hated Cooke before and had no idea how dirty he wan en masse before seeing this. You could paint a bad picture of many players doing a breakdown like this (no one moreso than Dale Hunter, I’d guess), but for Cooke it’s almost necessary to understand how intentional all of his actions are. Pens fans that defend Cooke know they’re wrong and that they see him through black-and-gold glasses, just like the people that defend Hunter against “dirty player” allegations do when the shoe is on the other foot.

    I applaud the league for the suspension but it just draws into greater focus how much they have failed to discipline Cooke before now in a meaningful way. I applaud the Pens for being so outspoken about dirty hits and talk the talk all of a sudden, but this hit list makes clear how complicit they’ve been. The number of injuries he’s inflicted over the years (none worse than Savard’s) is the real tragedy of it all.

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  • Aron

    Especially considering how clean Green and Ovi play. – Ian

    Sergei Gonchar might have something to say about how clean Ovi plays. I’m not comparing the two, because Matt Cooke has no comparable, but I wouldn’t call Ovi’s play “clean” on any level.

  • http://theinconsideratecontrarian.blogspot.com/ Tim Kosecki

    What will “fix” Cooke? No instigator rule. He runs Ovechkin or Tavares or whoever else, and turns around and has King or Gillies forcing him to fight without 3 zebras holding them back.

    Cooke wouldn’t have lasted in the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s playing like this – he would get highsticked, jumped by 6 guys, jumped by 1 guy, or jumped by a roid monster in each of those decades, respectively. Now he gets a slap on the wrist, the NHL is down a skill player to injury, and he will be back running around round 2 game 1.

    Although, in all fairness, Cooke is tough, so he’d probably survive, but he wouldn’t be taking the same kinds of runs, and he wouldn’t be doing it with such high frequency. The NHL wants to preserve its “anti-barbaric” image by protecting pukes like Cooke or Kaleta or Lapierre, at the expense of Savard or Crosby. Let players protect each other and this stuff doesn’t happen.

  • http://theinconsideratecontrarian.blogspot.com/ Tim Kosecki

    Aron, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTv2uSAiYx4

    Gonchar smashes Clutterbuck, who doesn’t even have the puck, with a jumping forearm to the chin from the blind side. I loved this hit though, because Clutterbuck is almost as bad as Cooke. Just another run-taking punk with a 2 foot tall visor.

    I loved Gonchar when he was here, but your comment is shortsighted.

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  • Yourmom

    Didnt know u were such a big Matt Cooke fan. These r awesome.