OTTAWA, ON - APRIL 20: Matt Cooke #24 of the Pittsburgh Penguins skates away after a skirmish with a smirk on his face in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Quaterfinals against the Ottawa Senators during the 2010 Stanley Cup Finals at Scotiabank Place on April 20, 2010 in Ottawa, Canada. The Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Ottawa Senators 7-4. (Photo by Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images)
2 Total Updates since March 21, 2011
about 2 years ago Update 2 comments
Typically, when a player is suspended, the team releases a statement about how they disagree but accept the punishment that's been handed out to their player. Following Matt Cooke's lengthy suspension on Monday for his hit on Rangers' defenseman Ryan McDonagh, the Pittsburgh Penguins are taking a much different tune.
Via the team website, here's what general manager Ray Shero had to say:
"The suspension is warranted because that's exactly the kind of hit we're trying to get out of the game. Head shots have no place in hockey. We've told Matt in no uncertain terms that this kind of action on the ice is unacceptable and cannot happen. Head shots must be dealt with severely, and the Pittsburgh Penguins support the NHL in sending this very strong message."
In the aftermath of Mario Lemieux's comments about the NHL's lack of discipline in mid-February, it's not like the Penguins had any choice but to agree with this suspension of Cooke. He's everything that Lemieux railed against when he blasted the NHL's handling of the melee between Pittsburgh and the New York Islanders last month, and any disagreement with this suspension would have been a clear contradiction of that.
about 2 years ago Update 1 comment
The NHL has sent a message to Penguins forward Matt Cooke, suspending him for the remainder of the regular season plus the first round of the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The League announced the suspension late on Monday afternoon.
There are 10 games remaining in the Penguins season, which means the suspension will come in at a minimum of 14 games and a maximum of 17 games. Cooke will hand over $219,512.20 in salary to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund, which is more money than some people have ever made in their entire lives.
Colin Campbell, the NHL's VP of Hockey Operations, talked about the suspension in the League's press release.
"Mr. Cooke, a repeat offender, directly and unnecessarily targeted the head of an opponent who was in an unsuspecting and vulnerable position," said NHL Senior Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell. "This isn't the first time this season that we have had to address dangerous behavior on the ice by Mr. Cooke, and his conduct requires an appropriately harsh response."
Cooke may have cost the Penguins two points on Sunday afternoon with his elbow, but with the injuries that are still rampant in Pittsburgh, his absence for the rest of the season and the first round of the playoffs will certainly hurt the Penguins even further. He may be a danger on the ice, but the "A" he wears on his sweater isn't a complete joke.
Losing Cooke for that long will certainly hurt the Penguins' hopes of earning home-ice in the first round of the playoffs, moving up in the Eastern Conference, and ultimately it could hurt their chances of winning that first round.
For more on the suspension, be sure to check in with SB Nation's Pensburgh.
about 2 years ago Update 4 comments
In the aftermath of his brutal elbow to the chin of New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh, Pittsburgh Penguins forward Matt Cooke will meet in-person with the NHL's supplementary discipline chiefs on Monday, an indication that he could receive a lengthy suspension. In-person meetings usually mean a suspension of more than five games is coming.
Here's video of the offending hit:
There's no two ways about it: it's nasty, brutal, disgusting, blatant, horrible. This is exactly the type of thing that we all want to see out of hockey and this is exactly the type of thing that Cooke has become known for during his NHL career.
Most importantly, perhaps, this is exactly the type of that Pens owner and Hall of Famer Mario Lemieux railed against just a little over a month ago when his team was involved in a melee with the New York Islanders. Lemieux said, in part:
"The NHL had a chance to send a clear and strong message that those kinds of actions are unacceptable and embarrassing to the sport. It failed.
"We, as a league, must do a better job of protecting the integrity of the game and the safety of our players. We must make it clear that those kinds of actions will not be tolerated and will be met with meaningful disciplinary action."
Lemieux was angry with the NHL over the discipline handed out to the Islanders in the wake of the incident, but should Cooke get off easily today (and by easily, we mean anything less than 10 games for a repeat offender), couldn't the exact same quote come from somebody in the Rangers organization?
Cooke has been suspended countless times for similar incidents throughout his career, and apparently, none of that discipline has led to a change in his thinking. It'll be interesting to see if the NHL uses this as an opportunity to make an example of the guy who's quickly become Public Enemy No. 1.