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You won't believe what Colin Campbell said….

Mar 8, 2010, 9:09 PM EDT

I must have watched the Matt Cooke on Marc Savard hit about 30 times
today. It’s the hot topic of the day, especially with the NHL general
managers meeting today to discuss illegal hits to the head.

To me,
this hit was much worse than the Mike Richards on David Booth
blind-side hit from earlier this season, as it appeared that Cooke
reached out and put his arm right into Savard’s helmet. It may not have
been point of his elbow, but it certainly was not his shoulder.

Well,
NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell doesn’t think so.

In
an interview on Fan 590 today
, Campbell said he didn’t think Cooke
hit Savard with his elbow and hit him with his shoulder instead. He’ll
continue to review the incident and will have a decision on a possible
suspension before the Penguins next game on Thursday.

My first
reaction was: Are you kidding?

My second one was just to sigh, and
settle back down to write, once again, about the issues concerning
these sorts of hits. Technically, a hit to the head by a shoulder is
legal and going by that criteria technically Cooke should not be
suspended. If Campbell honestly doesn’t believe his arm or elbow was
involved in the hit then he shouldn’t suspend them. The GM’s are
gathering this week to discuss the legality of all hits to the head and
if there is any logic involved in these meetings, then any and all hits
will be deemed illegal.

The fact that Campbell doesn’t believe the
hit was caused bu an elbow speaks to the heart of the issue itself.
Hits that result in serious injury — especially head injuries — should
not be as subjective as they are. Was it boarding or not? Was it an
elbow or upper arm? It shouldn’t matter….any hit to the head that is
the result of careless play should be punished, and punished the exact
same way each time.

  1. Copper & Blue - Mar 8, 2010 at 9:33 PM

    this hit was much worse than the Mike Richards on David Booth blind-side hit from earlier this season,
    It’s the same hit. Both deserve 10-20 game suspensions.

  2. Raimo - Mar 9, 2010 at 1:31 AM

    NHL should at least try to get rid of headshots. They should suspend players 20+ games for one season and see what it does to the game. If it radically changes physically aspect of the game and players are scared of hitting, then go back. But I don’t think it would happen.
    I love hockey because it’s tough sport but hits like that makes me feel sick. It’s impossible to eliminate headshots entirely, because the fact is hockey’s a contact sport. But if you can reduce dangerous incidents at least little I think it’s worth of drying

  3. B and G - Mar 9, 2010 at 7:34 AM

    It wasn’t an elbow. It was Cooke’s upper arm, below the shoulder. You can see the numbers area of the sleeve hit him. The video isn’t the best angle either and it seems to be the only one available. Cooke’s arm was coming up, but not enough to be an elbow. Viscious hit none-the-less. They’ll get him on intent to injure, which is what it was. The league needs to make all shots to the head a penalty.

  4. J - Mar 9, 2010 at 8:40 AM

    I also watched the hit multiple times. I will not defend the hit, because any hit to the head is not a positive thing. However, Cooke clearly led with his shoulder. He did not raise his arm and lead with the forearm or elbow. I’m not sure how anybody that watches it is seeing anything else. The shoulder is what made contact with Savard’s head. That’s all I have to say…

  5. J - Mar 9, 2010 at 8:47 AM

    I also watched the hit multiple times. I’m not sure how anybody could come to the conclusion that Cooke hit Savard’s head with his elbow. He clearly led with his shoulder and made contact with his shoulder/upper arm. I won’t defend the hit – any hit to the head is certainly not a positive thing. But I’ve seen far worse hits than this, and the video clearly shows Cooke did not raise his arm to strike Savard with his elbow or forearm.

  6. B and G - Mar 9, 2010 at 9:34 AM

    In my opinion, it doesn’t matter whether it was an elbow or shoulder. Cooke lined up a defenseless player and made head contact. Enough force for Savard’s head to snap and to knock him out for a few seconds and to cause a concusion. Only difference is that an elbow would have been a clear cut penalty in the game.
    The league is currently addressing all hits to the head at the GM meetingg. Hopefully shoulder to head hits to an unsuspecting player will be included into the rules. Cooke should have been given a match penalty or major penalty for roughing or intent to injure regardless, but the lunkhead on ice officials decided not to call anything. He still deserves a suspension. The way the league operates, it will be 5 games.

  7. Dave S - Mar 9, 2010 at 1:37 PM

    How the times change. Isn’t this the same activity that made Scott Stevens a hero in hockey? Cruising the slot, out of position, with the sole purpose of head hunting a defenseless player.
    I am a hockey lover. Fights. Scoring. Checking. Speed. All of it is exciting, but there is no control when it comes to going after the head. Players are now smaller and faster and have no hesitation in lauching themselves, full speed, head high. Look at your biggest hero: Ovechkin.
    There is no respect amungst players. Watch any player prepare for a check and you will see them shift there balance to make themselves as big as they can up high. This is the process of protecting their own head by getting on top of every check. It is simple to overcome this issue. You go high with your body, you get 5 and a game. If the opponent is injured, you are out until he is cleared to play.

  8. john - Mar 9, 2010 at 4:10 PM

    Try to find a video of the “Punisher” Colin Campbell said during a NHL network interview on Monday 3/8. He claimed that the NHL has been discussing the problem of blows to the head for 12 YEARS! They are going to break into small groups of GMs and discuss it some more this week. Then he claimed that changes cannot be made in season, the GMs just cannot affect the outcome of a season that has already seen countless man-games lost do to blows to the head, checks into the boards and flying elbows. So keep up the good work NHL GMs and later on down the road when they start slicing open the cork-like brains of these present day stars maybe they will realize that beyond being dirty, unprofessional and disrespectful, these hits are just downright dangerous.

  9. Jake - Mar 9, 2010 at 7:43 PM

    Any player who causes a head injury like SAVARDS should be suspended WITH OUT PAY until the injured player returns to play

  10. dan - Mar 10, 2010 at 6:17 PM

    That’s funny, I watched the video about 20 times, and I don’t see how anyone could say Cooke DIDN’T use his elbow. You can see him raise his elbow just before contact… He wanted to make sure he hit Savard in the head. He clearly meant it to be a head shot, and he used his elbow. Colin Campbell is an idiot.

  11. Sparklemahn - Mar 14, 2010 at 12:48 PM

    I love and respect the Pittsburgh Penguins and their great fans. I cannot say the same for Matt Cooke or Colin Campbell. The Bruins MUST be ready to destroy Cooke for his cheap shot, and possible take out Crosby or Malkin, too. If the league is going to permit this kind of thing, Boston has to respond in kind. Old time hockey etiquette, plain and simple. March 18, Bruins vs. Penguins: a fight that might feature a hockey game!

  12. Birdie17 - Mar 14, 2010 at 8:23 PM

    I agree with you 100 percent. And he got away with it….what a joke! Like it has been said before, if a hit like that had been inflicted on Crosby, new rules would be in place and the player who would hit Crosby would be long gone.

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