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Matt Cooke’s dirty hit on Fedor Tyutin: Poor excuses and time for the NHL to take a stand

Feb 9, 2011, 11:52 AM EDT

Columbus Blue Jackets v Pittsburgh Penguins Getty Images

By now we all know what Matt Cooke‘s M.O. is when he’s on the ice. He’s going to stir things up by being physical. He’s going to be in your face and chances are a scrum is going to develop thanks to his mere presence on the ice.

Last night against Columbus, Cooke wasn’t in anyone’s face but instead was burying himself between the numbers on Jackets defenseman Fedor Tyutin. Cooke received a five-minute major for charging Tyutin in the first period when he ran Tyutin from behind into the boards skating at full speed from a distance out to do it. (See video of the hit here on YouTube)

After the hit, Derick Brassard grabbed Cooke to fight him and the two threw down giving Cooke another five minutes for the scrap. Despite the dirty hit being both a textbook definition of charging and boarding, he got to stay in the game. When the interested parties were asked about the hit after the game, the battle lines were drawn in support of their own case as Tom Reed of The Columbus Dispatch gathered.

The Blue Jackets were understandably outraged.

“It was the worst hit I’ve ever had from behind,” said Tyutin, who did not miss a shift. “I wasn’t surprised not when you see (Cooke) in the highlights all the time for dirty hits.”

Jackets alternate captain R.J. Umberger also addressed the hit that occurred behind his team’s net at 14:42. “I thought it was blatant from behind. He had plenty of time to slow down.”

The Penguins, meanwhile, offered up some excuses that if offered up in a court case would lead to public outrage.

“(Tyutin) makes sure that he keeps his numbers (on the back of the jersey) toward him,” Bylsma said. “Matt Cooke did hit him there and sent him into the boards.”

Cooke also blamed the victim.

“It used to be you were responsible for yourself if you turned, but that’s not the way anymore,” Cooke told the Post-Gazette. “That call’s been called on us four or five times this year. It’s the same thing.

“He turns and looks and sees me coming. The other defenseman is slowing me down, so I’m not skating full speed at him.”

We don’t know who or what exactly Tyutin was looking at when he peered over his shoulder heading into the corner, but for Bylsma and Cooke to both blame Tyutin for getting obliterated from behind is ludicrous. Seeing a guy’s numbers when you’re going into the corner means you don’t hit the player from behind as he’s not looking. That’s never been OK to do and it’s certainly not legal to do in the NHL’s mind. To essentially say that Tyutin was asking for it is infuriating criminal logic and wrong.

If you think you’re alone in believing that Cooke’s intent was malicious, Jeremy Roenick sounded off in a big way this morning on XM Home Ice. Roenick said Cooke was “chickens–t” for hitting Tyutin like that and that he should be suspended for 20 games. When a guy’s game is able to push buttons like this both on and off the ice he’s either really good at his job or a problem child out of control. Count us in on the latter when it comes to Matt Cooke.

The NHL is meeting Cooke on Thursday over the phone to discuss a possible suspension for the hit and this time, after so many instances in the past when dealing with a problem player, and that’s exactly what Cooke is now after the Savard incident and after his knee-on-knee hit with Alex Ovechkin just on Sunday, a clear message has to be sent that constant malicious behavior cannot be tolerated anymore. In this case, giving Cooke a “lifetime achievement” type of suspension that sends the message that they won’t stand for intentionally evil hits like these are not part of the NHL would do a world of good.

Matt Cooke is already a pariah after his disgusting hit on Marc Savard last season that for all intents and purposes has ruined his career, making him an example for the rest of the league that carrying yourself without respect for one another on the ice would go over well in every city except Pittsburgh. Many Penguins fans blindly take up for Cooke’s case and have even fabricated their beliefs rallying behind Bylsma’s take on things, but even a nice guy like Bylsma who has to stick up for his players in the darkest of moments has to be wondering what possesses Cooke to consistently do things like this to put his team in danger.

Whether the league comes down hard on Cooke or not (and we’re suspecting they won’t if the past has taught us anything) we’re hoping the point that this brand of disgusting and reckless play can be put to an end. Playing physical and finishing your check is fine and a great part of hockey. When going out of your way to attempt to injure players to do so is when it all goes wrong. If the NHL wants to send that message and give Cooke a stiff punishment, we’re all for it. A fine or a slap on the wrist courtesy suspension isn’t going to cut it anymore.

  1. kaninny - Feb 9, 2011 at 12:53 PM

    Your a MORON if you watched the game not a you tube highlight he saw him coming he turned and braced himself then did a good flop. The Hearing is already over expect nothing then wine about that.

    • stakex - Feb 9, 2011 at 3:00 PM

      The YouTube clip shows the whole hit… Cooke CLEARLY saw numbers and threw a check anyway. YOU CAN NOT DO THAT! If I turn away from someone going to hit me, and they still hit me in the numbers…. its an illegal hit. Lets also not pretend that Cooke hasn’t thrown countless dirty hits over the last couple years.

      You Pit fanboys are sick, and really need to learn about the game. I guess if some of you fat, lazy ****s actually played hockey you might understand things better.

      • sfbookreviews - Feb 10, 2011 at 10:56 PM

        Wow, first you claim others don’t know the game, but you claim Crosby is a product of league protection (your other senseless post) and not inhuman drive and hard work and natural talent. Then you go off like an 8 year old on “fanboys”. Nice. Nobody cares if you played hockey, you obviously weren’t good enough to make a name for yourself and even if you did, that doesn’t make you the only expert on the subject. Especially considering your rather hilarious bias toward Crosby.

        As for Cooke, the hit deserved a suspension, no doubt. But to claim Tyutin didn’t see him coming is rather ignorant of the video evidence. Two games would have been appropriate.

  2. Rosenthals Speling Instrukter - Feb 9, 2011 at 1:23 PM

    The worst part is Cooke won’t fight anymore after the ass-kicking Kane gave him. Someone needs to just wait till a whistle and beat his ass whether he wants to fight back or not.

  3. nikolainyr - Feb 9, 2011 at 1:23 PM

    Yeah kanniny, just watched the video. Tyutin’s head did not turn far enough around or long enough to his left to see Cooke coming. Even Tyutin did see Cooke, it by no means justifies hitting a guy in the numbers.
    Tyutin was looking at his d-partner and at the far boards to make sure when he sent the puck around it wasn’t a turnover.
    Assuming you watch a lot of Pens games (as only Pens fans and Milbury defend Cooke), what’s you’re take on the Hedman hit on Crosby?
    Is it Crosby’s fault he’s out with a concussion right now?
    Sid and Bylsma certainly don’t think so.

  4. clusterpuck - Feb 9, 2011 at 2:06 PM

    NHL is a joke. Their best player gets his head taken off from a blindsided away from the puck dirty hit in front of a national audience in the winter classic and there is no penalty. No hearing. No suspension. Meanwhile this clown turns his back to Cooke trying to draw a penalty and they are acting like the sky is falling.

    • stakex - Feb 9, 2011 at 3:04 PM

      There are major differences in the two hits, and you better believe if there was anything dirty about the Crosby hit the NHL would have been all to happy to throw around a suspension to protect their meal ticket.

      If your to ignorant, and know so little about hockey to not see the difference and actually think this hit by Cooke wasn’t flat out dirty I’m not even going to bother to explain it to you. Perhaps you should go watch tennis or something since your hockey knowledge is clearly zip.

      Btw: Crosby was having a good season, but hes not the best player in the world. If the NHL didn’t have their refs protect him like he was fragil or something he would be a middle of the pack player…. and you honestly think the NHL wouldn’t have taken action when he was hurt if there was a case there? Give me a break.

      • jpelle82 - Feb 10, 2011 at 1:08 PM

        lol i really want to know who you think is the best player…especially since the consensus and the numbers agree its him.

  5. ftrain021 - Feb 9, 2011 at 3:43 PM

    Its so funny to hear the Pens fans complain about the alledged terrible hit by the Capital’s Dave Steckel on Sidney Crosby, but Cooke is probably the dirtiest player of all. Sounds like a classic case of the kettle calling the pot black!

    I heard about this hit, but didn’t see it, so I won’t comment on it. I will say this, however, I have seen several hits that Matt Cooke was involved in that were crystal clearly dirty, and taking past history, I can tell you that Matt Cooke is most likely at fault in this instance and is also fine with being a cheap shot artist and dirt bag.

  6. someonestolesociofan - Feb 9, 2011 at 5:11 PM

    I’m on board with Rosenthals Speling Instrukter. The best thing the NHL could do in this case is to wait until Cooke is in a game against Derek Boogaard or Steve MacIntyre and tell the Boogeyman to go out and “solve the Cooke problem.” When it goes down, the officials should all turn their backs to Cooke and look into the crowd until the enforcer thinks that Cooke has had enough. Even better, make it a national game so Cooke can get his ass whooped in front of a national audience.

    After that, I don’t think you will have too many more “Cooke” problems in Pittsburgh or anywhere else.

  7. paigeywaigey163 - Feb 11, 2011 at 11:51 PM

    I wonder how many of you would actually win a fight with Cooke. With the Sid hit there was no puck, or play near him, Sid was in the middle of the ice and hit with a shoulder and is down for a bit, no call no suspension (not the physical part of the game). Anton Volchenkov elbows Zach Boychuk with play (physical part of the game), gets a penalty and 3 games. Cooke is going in for a hit with the play (which is the physical part of the game), Tyutin turns his head and may or may not see Cooke coming, then turns his back on the play. Cooke gets a penalty and 4 games. The problem is there have been similar hits in the NHL recently and throughout this season, and past seasons and the calls are inconstant. If you are going to punish Cooke for that hit then you might as well have kicked him out years ago, I will admit that Cooke has made similar hits this year and hasn’t received anything. In the same respect the pens have had nasty hits against them with nothing called. Tonight is a nice example Talbot had a clean hit against the Isles and now that player has a concussion (kinda like the Crosby situation.) The Isles’ Martin came up from behind Talbot and attacked him, again no play near Talbot. Max didn’t even fight back (most likely trying to draw penalties), but Martin keeps pummeling. Martin ultimately got a game misconduct, a 10 minute, a 5 minute fighting and a 2 minute roughing. My money says the NHL MIGHT suspend Martin 1 game.

    My point of my rant is the NHL is a joke when it comes down to handing out penalties/suspensions. They say they want to eliminate the old bench clearing antics, but it makes them money, so they won’t. If they took it seriously then repeat offenders such as Cooke, Pronger, Bertuzzi, and the likes would no longer be playing. BTW here is a 10 most dangerous players list as compiled by THN last year. I agree with some of these players but think there are dirtier players than some of the ones listed. Like this article says I think that more people are annoyed with Cooke, than his hits are the “dirtiest in the league”. http://thehockeywriters.com/top-10-dirtiest-nhl-players/

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