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Don't expect Penguins to suspend Cooke

Mar 10, 2010, 7:36 AM EST

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Cooke.jpgPittsburgh Post-Gazette reporter Dave Molinari
has a pretty interesting Q&A up today
, in which a reader
suggests that perhaps the Penguins should suspend Matt Cooke if the NHL
doesn’t. Here’s his response:

In general, though, it probably isn’t realistic to expect
an organization to punish a player for something that happens on the
ice if the league doesn’t seem his action worthy of a fine or
suspension. If a guy does something that his coach or GM deems to be
seriously out of line during a game, he might be on the receiving end
of a one-sided discussion about it, but the primary objective of team
officials is to win games, and that means dressing the 20 players they
believe are most likely to make that happen.

It seems that we should have a ruling sometime today on whether the
NHL suspends Cooke, but it seems that right now the indications are that
he won’t. If the NHL did not suspend Mike Richards — as they should
have — then I doubt they’ll do the same for Cooke. Of course, Cooke is
the mythical “repeat offender” that the league likes to bring the hammer
down on.

But I tend to agree with Molinari here. As much as I
would love to see a team take the bull by the horns and suspend the
player themselves, there’s no way that is going to happen, especially if
the league rules the hit was legal. There’s no doubt that Cooke
embarrassed the league, himself and his team with an insanely dangerous
and careless hit.

But the ones that should be apologizing is the
NHL for not already having rules in place to prevent these sorts of
hits. Supposedly the NHL has been discussing the legality of shoulder
hits to the head for over ten years, and yet just now it looks like
steps are going to be made to standardize the punishments for these hits
and actually deem these hits illegal — completely.

Matt Cooke
is not without fault here, no matter what the NHL says is legal. He made
a dangerous hit on a vulnerable player and although Joffrey Lupol is worried hockey will no longer be a
man’s game
, what we don’t want are our superstars walking around
like brain dead zombies.

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