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No suspension for Matt Cooke

Mar 10, 2010, 2:26 PM EDT

matt cooke.jpgWord is that Matt Cooke, the favorite to be our inaugural Bertuzzday award winner, will not be suspended for his hit on Marc Savard according to Pensburgh. You must be kidding me.

Earlier in the day, TSN’s Bob McKenzie – arguably the most level-headed and well-connected ‘person in the know’ — hinted on his Twitter account not to be surprised if Matt Cooke was NOT suspended for his concussion-causing hit on Boston’s Marc Savard. McKenzie, a very outspoken opponent of headshots, said that the hit wasn’t “illegal” by the current rules and since Mike Richards escaped suspension earlier in the season on a similar type of hit, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Cooke slide through as well.

Turns out that will be the case, as after a 12:30 conference call with NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell, it’s been reported that Cooke will not be punished. However the legality of this type of hit is likely to change very soon.

Look, I’m a Penguins fan at heart and definitely developed an admiration for the all-out style of a guy like Cooke. I cheered when he landed a big hit on Alex Ovechkin during last year’s playoffs and cringed after his questionable knee-to-knee hit on Erik Cole. Yet I don’t think even the most blindly devoted Penguins fan could defend Cooke’s needless elbow on Savard.

Perhaps it shouldn’t be too surprising that Cooke avoided suspension, though. As we’ve discussed quite a bit, Campbell seemed dismissive of the situation in interviews this week. Even though Cooke is a repeat offender, Campbell simply doesn’t think that the hit was illegal (at least under current rules).

I can’t help but find it disappointing that the league must be so bureaucratic about this, seeing as they’re on the verge of changing the rules. It’s almost as if Cooke’s hit is being “grandfathered in.” Still, the one decent thing to come out of this is that the league at least isn’t caving into pressure simply because Savard is injured. A dirty hit should be punished, even if the victim isn’t injured (and a “clean” hit shouldn’t yield a suspension even if a player is injured).

Hopefully the NHL can change its rules to curb these unnecessary, dangerous hits because their unwieldy and subjective suspension process clearly isn’t the solution. 

  1. Jim Rice - Mar 10, 2010 at 3:20 PM

    I’m a bruins fan, and call it bias if you want, but I am just sick to my stomach that there is no suspension. He has done this before, he knocked out our best player for possibly the rest of the year, and he doesn’t even get a slap on the wrist, he got nothing? If a Bruin did that to another team player, I wouldn’t be able to defend that at all, its crap and doesn’t belong in the NHL, but apparently the NHL doesn’t want to send a real message to its players that it doesn’t belong.

  2. Hockey rules - Mar 10, 2010 at 3:24 PM

    What a F@$#$# surprise! Imagine if it was Crosby taking a hit like that? Lifetime suspension. F%^ you Colin Campbell. Way to further f#$^@ up your game.
    Good, I’m glad. Now EVERY Bruin can run him all night long come next week. I hope that piece of sh%t Cooke gets all he deserves.
    Nice job Colin, now retribution is the word and all the haters can say how hockey is nothing but a bunch of goons. If any ONE person in this country deserves to lose his job, it’s you. Piece of sh&t.

  3. pk - Mar 10, 2010 at 5:09 PM

    This is why hockey will never be a major sport on the level of football or baseball. If you like hockey the way it is, it’s fine by me, but this kind of thing makes it strictly bush league.

  4. Raimo - Mar 10, 2010 at 6:36 PM

    If it’d have been Crosby or Ovechkin they would have suspended Cooke 15+ games instantly. Even though the hit was by the rulebook, and it wasn’t an elbow James, there should be no questions about is this wrong or not. Makes me feel sad

  5. blaine - Mar 10, 2010 at 6:58 PM

    it was a dirty hit cooke should be suspend 40 games like simon was . savard head was took off dirty hit. bring simon back from K H L NHL is boring sakic retired

  6. Jim - Mar 11, 2010 at 9:39 AM

    Common theme, The player wasn’t looking when the hit came!!!! Gotta have your head on a swivle!!!!! What’s next!!!! Red jerseys on certain players! It’s a collision / contact sport, what can ya do ya know!!!! It’s unfortunate but hitting (annihalation) is part of the game just like in football.. Dont skate with your head down.

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