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.