NHL

Cooke Skates on a Suspension; Struck by Lightning

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I realize that you all know about the decision on Matt Cooke — no suspension.

I am blown away by it, but at the same time I am not. Some how not suspending him makes sense if you look a little deeper. It is sort of biblical… “Savard has been concussed, so that we all shall implement new rules and avoid double standards.”

I understand that the hit was technically not an illegal one as the rules are currently written. However, it was brutal and Cooke deserved some kind of discipline.

My personal thinking is that the league did not want to open themselves up to talk of a double standard. The hit was very similar to the an undisciplined one that Mike Richards laid on David Booth earlier this season. Many folks were already comparing the two and defending Cooke based on that past non-suspension.

The other thought that is making the rounds in this brain of mine is a wild one and I am curious what you guys think. Maybe the league didn’t suspend Cooke because they didn’t want naysayers to come out of the wood work complaining about how a rule change might impact the game. Maybe they knew that suspending Cooke would make it tougher to get the new rules regarding head shots implemented. It would have been easy to throw the book at Cooke only to hear something like, “why change things…you are clearly controlling these incidents with suspensions etc.”  I know that isn’t exactly logical, but stranger things have happened…

I am hoping that isn’t the case, but it was just a strong thought that has been bouncing around in my head all day.

Speaking of strong thoughts… how about those of Vinny Lecavalier? Wow…

Lecavalier is not a happy camper about the Cooke non-suspension. He used the situation to get some long standing issues off of his chest. He is more than entitled to weigh in on this situation considering that he was injured by Cooke several years back.

Roughly two years ago, Lecavalier took a blindsided hit from Cooke that left him with a torn labrum that needed to be surgically repaired. If you ask me, Lecavalier hasn’t been the same player since.

“I can’t believe it. This guy’s been doing that his whole career to a lot of guys, he’s been hurting a lot of guys,” Lecavalier said to Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Bay Tribune. “Take Marc Savard. He’s going to be out for the rest of the season. I can’t believe they’re doing nothing about it. They’re protecting the wrong guy; that’s for sure.”

Lecavalier wasn’t done there…

“He’s got no respect for the players,” Lecavalier said of Cooke. “He knew exactly what he was doing when he came with his shoulder. He knew exactly that he was going to hit his head and that’s how guys get hurt.”

The feelings are obviously strong, but they are shared by Lecavalier’s teammate Marty St. Louis.

“There are certain players in this league that you tend to see on the highlights with hits like that,” said St. Louis to Erlendsson. “I don’t think it’s a coincidence that it was given by Matt Cooke. He’s a hard working player, I don’t want to take anything away from the way he plays the game but I think that there are times when guys are vulnerable and he still follows through. If that hit is not a suspension, I don’t know what is.”

I am sure that these are only a sampling of the strong feelings that are lingering in regard to Cooke. The fact that there wasn’t a suspension adds some suspense to next week’s game against the Bruins. Will they look for retribution? Time will tell, but it will be worth keeping an eye on.

Stay tuned for more fall out…

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About Brian Metzer

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Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Brian Metzer has been covering the Pittsburgh Penguins and National Hockey League since 2004. He is the host of Penguins Live Weekly, a show that airs Saturday mornings on 105.9 the X and iHeart Radio. He serves as the Pittsburgh Penguins correspondent for NHL Network Radio on SiriusXM, and is the NHL and Penguins correspondent for the Beaver County Times. Metzer is also a contributing writer for NHL.com and is the primary contributor for this site www.fromthepoint.com.

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