NHL

Cooke Suspended Four Games…

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Well, the news you have all been waiting for has just become public. Penguins’ forward Matt Cooke has been suspended four games for his latest indiscretion — a hit to the back of Fedor Tyutin last night during the Penguins’ 4-1 loss to the Blue Jackets.

The penalty is more than fair considering that the Cooke has a long and storied history of making plays that lack judgment. Last night was just the latest example and the league all but had to take action, especially since the hit happened one game after what looked to be a knee-on-knee collision with Alex Ovechkin.

Luckily neither Ovechkin nor Tyutin was injured by Cooke’s actions, but the league risked letting another questionable action fall into ancient history. Had they not suspended Cooke now, this hit wouldn’t have been applicable when they review future incidents.

Sure, they would have these incidents in mind, but without a suspension history, there might as well not be an action. This suspension lays the groundwork for a longer one down the line when the next incident occurs… and history shows us that it will in fact occur.

Cooke has been a bit of a loose cannon lately and has taken plenty of liberties over the past three or four games. This will give him a great opportunity to calm down a bit, though this suspension will hurt the team much more than it ever would have under normal circumstances.

The Penguins have already been playing more than a little shorthanded and this will take another NHL caliber body out of their line-up for four games. Hopefully this will serve as a wake up call to Cooke, who is one of the league’s best agitators when playing on the right side of the edge. Unfortunately he has spent far to often on the wrong side of that edge lately.

What do you think of the suspension? Personally, I feel that it is just. The hit last night was a clear infraction of the rules and there was no need for it.

For what it is worth, I also agree with the suspension to Anton Volchenkov, who is actually lucky to come away with only three games.

More later…

Comments

About Brian Metzer

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 and co-host of PensWeek on the Penguins Radio Network, serves as the Pittsburgh Penguins correspondent for NHL Network Radio on SiriusXM, does similar work for TSN 1050 in Toronto, is a contributing writer for NHL.com, the Beaver County Times and is the primary contributor for this site www.fromthepoint.com.

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5 Comments

  1. Doug McKenzie

    February 9, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    I agree with the suspension and I wouldn’t have been upset if it was even 5-6 games. For all the lip service the NHL pays to wanting to rid the game of this type of stuff, they don’t make examples of players. Heck, Todd Bertuzzi nearly killed a man (and certainly paralyzed him) and his suspension amounted to 20 games (he was allowed back because he cried and promised he was really sorry…no, he really meant it).

    Until somebody gets killed on the ice or until Colin Campbell & Mike Murphy get proactive about this stuff instead of reactive, these types of things will continue to happen frequently. I would love to see the NHL put some real teeth into a suspension and start handing out record suspensions. The behavior would stop quickly.

    /endrant

  2. Walshy

    February 9, 2011 at 5:59 pm

    What I dont understand is why a players history should come into play for any hit or any indiscretion.

    Not just in hockey or in any sport.

    Or the result of the injury either by the way.

    If the act is bad, suspend according to the act, like in a court of law.

    If you want players to play according to the rule on the ice f’ing apply them, or enforce enough punishment to make players realise that their actions will have consequences, if they are not going to respect the health of their fellow players.

    There should be set minimums for certain acts and if it more ‘brutal’ for want of a better word, increase the suspension. It has become obvious that Campbell either is competent enough or not ballsy enough to hand out the punishment to make an impact on the players.

  3. Walshy

    February 9, 2011 at 6:00 pm

    sorry for the rant there….

  4. Joe Thomas

    February 9, 2011 at 7:21 pm

    I want to see a little amount of consistancy. Remember when Cooke hit Savard? Do you remember Duncan Keith headshotting Cooke a few games later? It’s Duncan Keith, the league’s defensive Superhero – no review, no big woop. The impact was a bit less severe, but the hit was a cheap shot.

    Crosby gets smoked in the Winter Classic – not even a call.

    Cooke -suspension. I understand that he has a history, but history doesn’t mean a guy like Steckel should be able to take out the league’s best player and get away with it. Which he did. Cleanly.

    I’m sick to death with the NHL brass and officiating. The fact that the “Even-it-up” call even exists is proof there is a flaw in the game.

  5. OneSmugPug

    February 10, 2011 at 5:22 am

    @Walshy- History matters here in the United States when it comes to the Law. It’s not always fair, but it’s that way for a reason. Trust me when I say, I am dealing with something personal right now that I WISHED we could use the “repeat offender” status, because it indeed applies, but some folks want to be “merciful” to the person in question.

    @Joe – I remember the Seabrooke hit very well, and the flip side to that is that Cooke plays an edgy game, and you can’t run for the refs when you take the hits instead of giving them. Cooke has more than worn out his “Get out of jail free” cards and needs to take some responsibility. As far as Steckel is concerned, I can’t be convinced that it wasn’t an incidental hit that has disastrous results. If the league would outlaw hits to the head with no exceptions, we aren’t even having discussions over this and we certainly wouldn’t be debating over whether or not the onus is on the hitter or the person being hit. Now THAT’S a ridiculous conversation to have when a lot of times the victim usually doesn’t see the hit to begin with….

    ….but you are right, the NHL has no courage and the officiating might as well be done by traffic cones….