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John Carlson avoids Shanahammer for head shot on Matt Cooke

Dec 2, 2011, 10:24 AM EDT

John Carlson Getty Images

Washington’s John Carlson isn’t going to be suspended for trying to take Matt Cooke‘s head off  in last night’s 2-1 loss to Pittsburgh.

Well, this should be good and divisive.

Carlson appeared to take a run at Cooke’s head with a move Cooke knows all too well, sticking his elbow out to hit Cooke as the two collided. The amount of irony in seeing Cooke knocked down to the ice by way of a highly dubious hit is not lost on us. We’re also sure there’s no one outside of Pittsburgh feeling sorry for Cooke, either.

Of course, Pittsburgh fans are less than pleased with the situation — and they might have a beef here.

So did the league make a mistake in letting Carlson go without even so much as a hearing? Take a look at the video and see for yourself.

  1. govtminion - Dec 2, 2011 at 10:33 AM

    Hmmm… looks like he brought his elbow up to me. I don’t think it was intentional- just part of the reaction of hitting- but it did come up. Odd that there isn’t even a hearing, just a ‘no, no punishment’ and that’s it- seems like it should have been worth a good review at least.

    I’m sure the comments are ready to roll in about how that’s because it was Cooke, Shanahan is out to get the Penguins, etc., but an unsafe play is an unsafe play, and for this not to even be reviewed in detail seems really strange- and out of character for Shanahan, based on what we’ve seen the past couple of months. I’d love to know more about why this decision was made.

  2. hague507 - Dec 2, 2011 at 10:36 AM

    Considering how much the league is emphasizing the need to do away with head shots, they should have atleast braught Carlson in for a sitdown.

    That said, I agree screw Cooke. The other defenseman should have kicked him as he was going down.

  3. abrienza428 - Dec 2, 2011 at 10:41 AM

    What happens if Cooke does this to Carlson? 10-15 game suspension?

    Seriously, this makes the league look bad. While not nearly as bad as some have been, this is the hit they want to do away with. Be strict and consistent and it will go away. The recipient of the hit should have absolutely NO bearing.

    • govtminion - Dec 2, 2011 at 10:46 AM

      I think that’s my big question as well- if Cooke had done this, he’d be in Shanahan’s office right now. If Carlson did it to Crosby, same thing. Did this get swept under the rug because of the victim’s previous nature? Or was there a real reason for Shanahan to ignore it?

  4. ndrdog - Dec 2, 2011 at 10:50 AM

    This gives the appearance of the Capitals getting referential treatment from the league on hits like this (Dave Steckel) while some players getting hit (Cooke) also get a different set of rules. As long as this perception exists, hockey as a sport will never reach a level of success that it needs to succeed and prosper in the U.S. market.

    • cshearing - Dec 2, 2011 at 11:57 AM

      While I agree with the perception, thinking that this has to change before hockey is taken seriously in the US is ludicrous. All sports have legions of fans that feel certain other teams get preferential treatment. Do you not read comments on other sports’ web pages?

    • dipthatchip - Dec 2, 2011 at 5:00 PM

      you’ve got to be kidding dude. you pisspants need to get over the incidental Steckel-Crosby collision in the Winter Classic. Its not a player’s job to skate out of the way (Steckel) if someone else doesn’t have their head up (Crosby). Steckel didn’t put an emphasis into the ‘hit.’

      Though I do agree Carlson’s hit should have gone to review, the recipient of the hit is exactly why it didn’t. After Cooke ended Savaard’s career and then continued to play as dirty as possible, no sympathy will ever been given to him, ever.

    • matthewmacisaac - Dec 4, 2011 at 9:14 PM

      The NBA has had preferential treatment for decades and seems to be prospering in spite of being a boring dunkfest that ESPN would call highlights. A 6’5″ (or taller) guy dunking isn’t impressive or entertaining. The speed and athleticism of hockey will sell (especially on HDTV). As far as the hit in the article, it should probably be at least looked at, but I don’t think the head was targeted. Carlson is just that much taller than Cooke and it looked as if Carlson’s shoulder is what actually made contact. He didn’t launch himself at Cooke’s head (as Cooke has done on a few occasions). I hope Shannahan does nothing (it would be nice to rid the NHL of douchenozzles like Cooke or Avery).

  5. hague507 - Dec 2, 2011 at 10:56 AM

    If Cooke did it he would have been suspended and rightfully so. Cooke is well known as a dirty player with a history of suspensions, so yes the penalty for him would be worse. That’s just common sense.

  6. rsl22 - Dec 2, 2011 at 11:20 AM

    ndrdog, you can’t seriously believe that a hit that went almost completely unnoticed, and wasn’t even mentioned on NHL on the Fly, is the reason the NHL isn’t the NFL. As for getting referential (sic) treatment, OV has been suspended several times, Semin get’s called for diving no matter if he gets cross-checked in the back or slew-footed, and in a span of two minutes last night, you could see Staal interfere with Erskine in a dangerous play away from the puck, and just after that OV get’s called for interference on a play for the puck.

    Cooke is a dirty player, should have been suspended for kneeing OV last year, and definitely deserves more than what he got.

  7. pastabelly - Dec 2, 2011 at 11:22 AM

    Cooke had it coming. Carlson should have gotten a one game rest for this and a thank you card from Marc Savard.

  8. buffalotears - Dec 2, 2011 at 11:38 AM

    Looked like the elbows Crosbaby was throwing last week.

  9. bcjim - Dec 2, 2011 at 12:51 PM

    Someone tell Shannagoon to look at Semin getting his melon crushed by the goony Pens player in last nights game..Why no mention of that?

  10. sf49erguy - Dec 2, 2011 at 2:31 PM

    bcjim you like the word goon huh? it’s hockey… neither hits should be penalized… Go Pens..

  11. killerpgh - Dec 2, 2011 at 4:42 PM

    Rsl22,
    What are these “several times” that ovechkin has been suspended?

    • dipthatchip - Dec 2, 2011 at 5:03 PM

      you do realize there is a ‘reply’ function, right?

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