Mar 11, 2010, 5:00 PM EDT
Matt Cooke is the hockey equivalent of a college friend who destroyed someone’s apartment during a weekend binge; sure, he’s supposed to be your friend/teammate but that doesn’t mean you can justify his regrettable actions. Mark Spector wrote this story, which echoes news that Bill Guerin made some critical comments of his fellow Penguin.
“Here’s what they didn’t say when they wrote up those new head shot rules. What they couldn’t say.
It was the collective whisper we heard there from a gathering of men who know the NHL game well, but could never come out and verbalize what they really think about a cheap shot artist like Matt Cooke.”
It’s already pretty extraordinary to receive public criticism from guys on opposing teams and former division rivals (like Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis of the Tampa Bay Lightning, who must have been at least a bit familiar with Cooke from his days with the Washington Capitals). But when someone on your own team expresses criticism - even an older player with less to lose and more to say like Guerin – that’s something.
(My bet is that teammates often feel queasy about these controversial hits but still admire/respect/need those scrappers enough to keep that to themselves.)
Now, I hate to say this but until the league has the courage to do something legitimate about these hits, Cooke is an asset to a team like Pittsburgh. No one likes to admit it, but having scoundrels (players who pester and intimidate in equal measures such as Cooke and Steve Ott) often helps you win. I will be happy when the league changes Cooke from a “player you hate until he’s on your team” to a player who better change his ways if he wants to earn another year’s worth of NHL paychecks.
In the mean time, you can’t blame teams like Pittsburgh for outfitting their mostly talent-laden rosters with a few functional bad apples. I don’t like it and – apparently – his teammates don’t like it either, but the truth hurts. Just ask Marc Savard.
- Blackhawks nearly blow it…but don’t 1
- ‘Hawks rattle Rask with ‘way more traffic’ in Game 4 3
- Discuss: More Seabrook OT magic ties series 27
- Are the Pens leaning towards trading Letang? (Updated) 65
- Playoffs Tonight: Can ‘Hawks solve Rask? 23
- Sakic: If we keep top pick, we’ll likely draft a forward 27
- Report: Flyers will buy out Briere, Bryzgalov another story (Updated) 37
- Report: Flyers, Ducks talking about Bobby Ryan 60
- Marchand accuses ‘kitty cat’ Shaw of eye gouging 103
- Quenneville says Hossa is ‘likely’ to play Game 4 12
- Blackhawks win OT thriller
- PFT: Report: Hernandez accused of prior shooting
- CSN: Report: Hernandez 'not ruled out' as suspect
- PBT: Celts, Clips restart Doc, KG trade talks
- Posnanski: How Heat won a game of mistakes
- GTC: Tiger pulls out of AT&T citing elbow issue
- HBT: Biogenesis suspensions still likely coming