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Peter Chiarelli speaks on the Cooke non-suspension

Mar 11, 2010, 7:45 AM EDT

This isn’t going away anytime soon so we might as well keep covering
it.

In the wake of the non-suspension news surrounding the Matt
Cooke hit, as well as the news that the NHL GM’s have proposed rule
changes that would make such hits illegal, players and coaches around
the NHL are weighing in with their thoughts on the situation.

Boston
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli, no doubt one of the most
outspoken in this week’s meetings, had some very choice words during a
conference call yesterday.

“I was bewildered that there wasn’t a penalty called.

“There’s no reason to believe [the league] is targeting us. We can go
and look at other teams and see what infractions have happened to other
teams. You’ll have the same or close to the same as far as major
penalties and injuries that have been caused. I have no reason to
believe [the NHL] is targeting us.

“There’s
momentum that’s been building since the Richards/Booth hit. I felt if
they set aside the existing parameters that there wouldn’t a compromise
to the [discipline] system.

“I’m really disappointed. What’s fair? There’s no due process. I got
there Sunday night and I was speaking to Collie and his staff right up
until when I left [Wednesday] at noon. I was heard if that’s part of
fairness, and I guess there was an element of fairness there.”

Obviously there’s some emotions involved on the Bruins side, as Cooke
is still playing and Savard is at home with the lights off and the
curtains drawn.

But I doubt the NHL is actively targeting any team in this situation.

It’s not as if Cooke wasn’t a repeat offender, whom the league is
always quick to come down harder on than anyone else. And while Savard
isn’t exactly a “superstar”, he’s far from a nameless player on a
small-market team. The NHL maintains they had no choice not to suspend
Cooke based on the precedent set forth earlier this season, and the
simple fact that there wasn’t a rule in place he broke.

  1. Zach - Mar 11, 2010 at 12:25 PM

    There is a very easy way for the Bruins to handle this. Take care of the problem themselves.
    The Bruins play the Penguins again this season and will most likely be out of the playoff hunt, no thanks to this hit. Why not make a fraction late, deliberate shot to the head to a Penguins player. It would have to be the same kind of hit that Cooke landed on Savard. The NHL can’t suspend you for it because they have set a precedent or else they would look like they are playing favorites.

  2. gbh999 - Mar 11, 2010 at 1:57 PM

    Hockey is a full contact sport. If you play the game, chances are good that you will get injured, getting checked. I remember playing peewee hockey, where you first get introduced to hitting. The coach, used to always say, “keep your head up”. The fundamentals that you learned in the years before peewee and bantam hockey, are supposed to help you mature into a well rounded player. Keeping your head on a swivel, helps you to survive the game.
    Giving a player a penalty for executing a good hit is not the answer. I know the reaction felt when you watch the replay of one of these devastating hits. It brings out the calls of head-hunter, cheap-shot-artist, or worse. But you can’t just give the injured player a pass, for not watching out for what is going on around him, on the ice. Just because he passes the puck, doesn’t mean he can’t get hit during the flow of the play. If a player is set to receive a pass in the opponents zone, he should be aware of the surroundings on the ice, because it is up to the defence to make sure that the rhythm of the play gets disrupted. That is their job. Break up the play, transition, and go on offense. All of this is done at high speed. That is what makes hockey such a dynamic game.
    Putting in new rules, to handle perfectly legal hits to the head, will only add to the detraction of the game. Take the new rule that deals with hitting from behind, (boarding). You see some players, mostly European who have the practised skill at drawing a penalty, because of the interpretation of this new rule. They go along the boards, controlling the puck. When the defense goes to challenge him, at the proper moment thay turn their upper body, so it looks like the defense, is hitting him between the numbers. The player then goes head first into the boards, goes limp on the ice, and it looks like he is injured. The ref is pretty well gauranteed to call a penalty for this fiasco. The game is stalled, while this player is helped to the bench, holding his head, his face grimacing in pain. The offense then goes on a power play, sometimes for 5 minutes, depending on how good of an acting job, the player sold the ref. More times than not, the player that was injured, comes onto the ice to take his turn on the power play. The fans see the play for what it is. Just a dive. But the new rule has tied the ref’s hands. Like I said, this type of interpretation of the rules, is harming, more than helping the game. You will slow down the game. This game is poetry in motion. Don’t try and turn it into an afternoon of free skating at the local rec centre.
    In closing, If the NHL is serious in trying to clean up the game, they have to get the junior leagues in Canada, to implement rules to try and clean up the game. Good luck with that. A ticket to a WHL game in western Canada, is the best $17 you can spend on entertainment. I give you as an example, The Chicago Blackhawks. Pretty exciting hockey team to watch. In fact that team is on the verge of a dynasty. More than half the players come from the WHL in Canada. So, before you kill the golden goose, think long and hard, about the ramifications of any more new rules, that will slow this wonderful game down.

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