Skip to content

Ottawa GM Murray: ‘It’s Matt Cooke. What else should I say?’

Feb 13, 2013, 10:11 PM EDT

Early reports indicate the NHL won’t suspend Matt Cooke for the hit that possibly ended Erik Karlsson‘s season, but the Ottawa Senators aren’t happy.

Chris Neil was penalized for roughing Cooke in the third period* of Wednesday’s 4-2 win for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Most interestingly, Senators GM Bryan Murray didn’t give Cooke the benefit of the doubt, as the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Josh Yohe reports.

“It’s Matt Cooke. What else should I say?” Murray said. “Watch the replay.”

Here’s the replay:

Murray’s response comes after hearing that his 22-year-old star defenseman could miss the rest of the season and his team has been hit hard by injuries already. It’s possible Murray might back off his comments once emotions die down a bit.

That said, the comment is also based on Cooke’s long history of questionable hits.

The 34-year-old vowed to change his ways after he received a significant suspension late in 2010-11, reforming to the point that he became Pittsburgh’s Masterton candidate last season. Even so, his rugged style prompts little trust and the occasional question about whether he really changed his ways.

In other words, many assume the worst when it comes to Cooke, including some members of the Senators organization.

* – Both were also ejected from the contest.

Update: Keith Jones and Mike Milbury provide an interesting take on the situation. Milbury predicted Murray’s reaction quite well, by the way:

This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!


Karlsson could be out for the season

Video of the injury

Milan Michalek out, too

  1. windmiller4 - Feb 13, 2013 at 10:14 PM

    No need for him to say this, i think most of us can agree it was a freak accident. It may have been Cooke, but IMO he had no intention of possibly ending Karlsson’s season

    • nunan - Feb 13, 2013 at 10:40 PM

      Exactly. People need to start using common sense. Don’t watch the video 50 times and then convince themselves it was on purpose.

    • jpelle82 - Feb 14, 2013 at 9:11 AM

      yeah what are the chances of landing a skate perfectly there and doing that kind of damage, you would fail 99 out of 100 times if you were trying. feel bad for karlsson.

    • pensnr1fan - Feb 15, 2013 at 6:27 PM

      I whole hardedly agree with you. My question to the Sens ownership, would be, who sent Neil out to STALK Cooke and instigate a fight ? But, by Ottawa
      standards that’s ok, fer sure !!!!!!

  2. rushledger - Feb 13, 2013 at 10:17 PM

    I need to see the hit before I rush to judgement which I hope others will do the same. Cooke hit Markov in 2010 and it was a clean hit but Markovs knee was hanging on by a string so that did it in. If its a dirty hit then so be it but let’s be fair and see it before we assume it was dirty.

  3. broadstbully33 - Feb 13, 2013 at 10:17 PM


    • hockeyflow33 - Feb 14, 2013 at 1:38 AM

      Apparently the only way for you to not sound like a complete idiot is to limit your posts to one word.

  4. sabatimus - Feb 13, 2013 at 10:20 PM

    It looked like Cooke was trying to get leverage with his leg behind Karlsson–I thought it was going to end up being a slew foot. But instead it was a good play that had a bad result. As much as I’d like to blame him for everything (I was a big Marc Savard fan), Cooke’s been a different, cleaner player since he was suspended for the balance of the season.

  5. sabatimus - Feb 13, 2013 at 10:22 PM

    You know, I look at it again, and I disagree with myself.

  6. sportsfreak13 - Feb 13, 2013 at 10:22 PM

    Feel bad for karlsson. Wish him a speedy recovery. That said its Bryan Murray, what else should I say.

  7. lammy5555 - Feb 13, 2013 at 10:27 PM

    What an awful, freak injury to Karlsson. I hope he has a very quick, speedy recovery.

    That said, I don’t think Cooke did it on purpose. There is no clear downward kicking or stepping motion.

  8. govtminion - Feb 13, 2013 at 10:29 PM

    His leg comes up in a weird way as he’s hitting, I’m not sure what that’s about… but I also don’t think it was intent to injure here, because if that was the idea why would he drag his skate down the guy’s leg like that instead of coming in blade-on?

    I know it’s Cooke, and believe me I don’t like being on his side on this (Bruins fan, ’nuff said)… but this time I think it was a freak accident that just happened to be Cooke involved.

    • sabatimus - Feb 13, 2013 at 10:34 PM

      It’s hard to tell intent, but I agree: why is his leg coming up in the first place? And if it were in the air unintentionally, wouldn’t he have simply put it back down on the ice to give him more leverage against his man? I don’t know. But I think the old Cooke may have come out tonight.

      • valoisvipers - Feb 14, 2013 at 9:47 AM

        Matt Cooke last season played 82 games,had 19 goals and 19 assists to go along with 44 penalty minutes. Hardly goon like stats now are they? See folks a leopard can change his spots and you can teach an old dog new tricks. Cooke is reformed and Torres is using him as his new role model to help reform his own game.

      • warnercc - Feb 14, 2013 at 7:07 PM

        I can believe that ANYONE would do that type of thing intentionally. This type of injury can be one of the most devastating injuries you can receive. I completely ruptured my right Achilles tendon in ’91 playing basketball and I am lucky to be walking somewhat normally. Forget about running or anything that even closely resembles playing a sport. The good news out of this particular incident is that it was only 70% severed. Hopefully, the outcome will be good and it will only be a bump in the road for his career. The only question I have is why would anyone not where the Kevlar socks that are available?

      • pensnr1fan - Feb 15, 2013 at 6:30 PM

        you’re a MAROON !!

  9. bobhpine - Feb 13, 2013 at 10:35 PM

    What else should Brian Murray say: Thuffering thuccotash!

    • phillyphanatic77 - Feb 13, 2013 at 10:47 PM

      Of course you would stoop to making fun of Murray’s lisp after one of your goons just took out the Sens franchise player. Would you be yukking it up if someone severed Crosbys or Malkins Achilles?

      • pensnr1fan - Feb 15, 2013 at 6:31 PM

        Quit whinning…..we lost Sid and Geno 2 years ago and we still finished with 106 pts….SUCK UP the injury and carry on…that’s what real men do.

    • benzoids - Feb 14, 2013 at 6:04 PM

      I apologize for posting a similar comment. Great minds think alike. Didn’t mean to steal your thunder!

      • bobhpine - Feb 15, 2013 at 12:35 AM

        Great minds indeed

  10. bcisleman - Feb 13, 2013 at 10:35 PM

    Cooke plainly lifts his skate as he makes contact. Was he trying to injure Karlsson? Only Cooke knows. His history works against him no doubt.

    • hockeyflow33 - Feb 14, 2013 at 1:39 AM

      No, everyone with a clue who has watched the video knows it wasn’t intentional.

  11. csilojohnson - Feb 13, 2013 at 10:35 PM

    Cooke has played a different game the past two seasons. To assume it was intentional is obsurd. Very low of the Sens organization for making that assumption. Especially in front of the story hungry media.

    • merrickswar - Feb 14, 2013 at 6:55 PM

      Do you expect anything less? This is the reaction any time PIT is involved. Whether it’s Cooke in this case or Cosby, Malkin, Orpik in other cases.

      It’s very silimar to the way NE is treated in the NFL.

  12. habsman - Feb 13, 2013 at 10:36 PM

    It was a delibertate stomping motion at the back of the leg. You just don’t do that.

    A dirty play by a player with a history of dirty plays. Should be a suspension, but lets face it, the league has very tiny balls.

    • steelpenbucs87 - Feb 13, 2013 at 10:42 PM

      It was not a deliberate stomping motion (in my opinion) his leg was in the air ad he was trying to stable himself after contact and put his leg down.

      Its an unfortunate accident – and I think your second sentence belies your prejudices.

      • xflyersx - Feb 14, 2013 at 1:24 PM

        Why was his leg in the air as he was throwing a check in the first place?

      • steelpenbucs87 - Feb 14, 2013 at 1:39 PM

        Link to the TSN guys explaining the strategy – they do better justice with video than I could with just words here.

  13. phillyphanatic77 - Feb 13, 2013 at 10:38 PM

    Everytime I watch the replay I feel differently. At first it looked like nothing more than a freak accident, then watching it on NHL tonight it looked like there may have been a little bit of extra force exerted by Cooke as he lowers his skate. It’s extremely difficult to say there was intent on Cooke’s part to hurt Karlsson. Was he trying to get leverage? Was he maybe trying to trip Karlsson? Or was he just trying to keep his balance? It’s really hard to tell. Only Matt Cooke knows the truth. It’s truly unfortunate to see this happen to a young star on a team that desperately needs him. But I don’t think you can tell if it was intentional, even with Cooke’s checkered past.

    • sabatimus - Feb 13, 2013 at 10:58 PM

      This is precisely how I feel about it right now.

  14. zachfelchesryan - Feb 13, 2013 at 10:41 PM

    Someone really needs to pull a ‘Tanya Harding’ on Cooke.

    Mario is also a piece of garbage and a hypocrite for sanctioning this.

    • steelpenbucs87 - Feb 13, 2013 at 10:44 PM

      Sanctioning what? Even if it were intentional (which I, and it would seem the majority of people, believe it was not) how is Mario ‘sanctioning’ this?

      • zachfelchesryan - Feb 13, 2013 at 10:56 PM

        The only “majority of people” that believe that it was unintentional seem to have some sort of Pitt related screenname.

      • steelpenbucs87 - Feb 14, 2013 at 9:52 AM

        From the TSN Crew:

        From a Flyers fan and NHL Blogger:

        Not to mention several other folks across the league on TV and on the internet…

        Not sure what there screen names are on this site though so I suppose you could be right….

    • sabatimus - Feb 13, 2013 at 10:59 PM

      What dimwitted posts you have.

  15. joewilliesshnoz - Feb 13, 2013 at 10:41 PM

    Not this time.

  16. chanceoffleury1 - Feb 13, 2013 at 10:42 PM

    That hit was not intentional and anybody who claims that it is is only saying so because it’s Matt Cooke. When you put all your momentum into a hit, you often lose your balance and unfortunately while Cooke went to regain his, his skate found Karlsson’s achille’s tendon. Don’t overanalyze it and look for something that isn’t there. It was nothing more than a hockey play.

    3 videos that all contain hits from recent seasons. In almost every hit, the player loses his balance and starts stepping around trying to regain it. Nothing different than what Cooke attempted to do here.

  17. zachfelchesryan - Feb 13, 2013 at 10:42 PM

    Someone needs to pull a ‘Tanya Harding’ on Cooke.

    Mario will also get his – karma sucks.

    • zachfelchesryan - Feb 13, 2013 at 10:46 PM

      Damn double post – was originally rejected.

      I assumed Mario had PHT in his pocket like he does the NHL

      • tomahawk12 - Feb 14, 2013 at 7:34 AM

        Such an angry person…….you have an anti Pittsburgh problem you just will have to get over. The hit was not intentional, get over it.

  18. nygdriveforfive - Feb 13, 2013 at 10:43 PM

    I think you have to take a player’s past in to consideration if you are talking about “freak” plays. No way from that angle and postion it’s a “freak” accident. The force required to cause a laceration is a kicking or stomping force. Spezza now this! I will now go to the corner and cry.

    • brycewest - Feb 13, 2013 at 10:56 PM

      Force required to cause an injury with a honed blade? Perhaps body weight and momentum? It was an accident…accident. Sorry for the Sens losing a truly special player, but it was an accident…just like the concussion to Crosby was an accident. Let the league be reasonable for a change.

    • hockeyflow33 - Feb 14, 2013 at 1:41 AM

      Never been on skates before huh?

  19. flyeredup - Feb 13, 2013 at 10:47 PM

    Freak injury. Get well soon 65

  20. brycewest - Feb 13, 2013 at 10:52 PM

    Amazed by the “conclusions” people have come to…amazed. With the “touchy” nature of boarding calls these days, you have to be EXTRA careful to finish a check on the boards. Given their position coming in, Cooke established a strong lower body position to guarantee Karlsson didn’t crumble into the boards and buy a call. I just don’t see how A N Y O N E could assume intent.

    • sabatimus - Feb 13, 2013 at 11:01 PM

      What does boarding have to do with this?

      • merrickswar - Feb 14, 2013 at 6:20 PM

        Let me S P E L L it out for you. If Cooke had followed Karlsson in and extended his arms to Karlsson’s back he might very well have gone head first into the boards (which actually could have caused a less severe injury). Instead “Cooke established a strong lower body position to guarantee Karlsson didn’t crumble into the boards” which would be boarding.

        Se how I read his comment and even quoted it there?

  21. nygdriveforfive - Feb 13, 2013 at 10:56 PM

    Worst post ever

    • ml3939 - Feb 13, 2013 at 11:44 PM

      That is what bob pine does best.

      • bobhpine - Feb 15, 2013 at 12:43 AM

        I’m memorable to you girls huh?

  22. yougotgirouxed - Feb 13, 2013 at 11:17 PM

    Why did Cooke have to lift up his skate like that? It was probably a freak accident but it looks like there was intent. The only reason i say there was not intent is that the NHL game moves so fast that its almost impossible for Cooke to decide to hurt Karlsson then actually do it in a split second. That being said I hate Matt Cooke. He’s a piece of $***

    • merrickswar - Feb 14, 2013 at 6:14 PM

      Well, with that username I believe your feelings for all Pens players is implied.

  23. stakex - Feb 13, 2013 at 11:44 PM

    Watching the replay, its impossible to tell if Cooke does it on purpose or not. He does move his foot downward a bit, but he could just have been trying to get his foot back on the ice. I don’t personaly think he was trying to hurt Karlsson.

    Heres the thing though…. when you have a record like Cooke and this sort of accident happens people are going to look at you with suspicion. He has a horrible track record of attempting to injure other players, and that will follow him till the end of his career. Its no ones fault but Cooke’s that a decent amount of people think he did this on purpose.

    • hockeyflow33 - Feb 14, 2013 at 1:43 AM

      Not only is it quite possible to determine intent, it would take a person with low intelligence, who has never played ice hockey, to say this was purposeful

      • merrickswar - Feb 14, 2013 at 5:50 PM

        …or a complete moron.

  24. aso513 - Feb 13, 2013 at 11:46 PM

    It’s embarrassing how people can think this was intentional. Plain and simple.

  25. ml3939 - Feb 13, 2013 at 11:48 PM

    As a Flyers’ fan, I believe that was a complete fluke incident and Cooke showed no ill will going into the boards with Karlsson.

    • merrickswar - Feb 14, 2013 at 5:48 PM

      Duly noted Flyers fan, Duly noted.

  26. leonjai - Feb 14, 2013 at 12:34 AM

    Matt Cooke again and again. That’s all.

  27. speedstickmusk - Feb 14, 2013 at 1:24 AM

    Hate to see it happen to Karlsson but it was a quick hockey play and very unfortunate. Cooke is going to be the bad guy no matter what. But there’s 2 things:

    1. Bryan Murray is an a$$hole. Always has been, always will be.
    2. I will never be able to root for a Senators team that has Chris Neil. Poor Alfie…

  28. augsburg12 - Feb 14, 2013 at 5:59 AM

    Neil should be suspended for his attack on Cooke Clearly Cooke didn’t want to fight and was pounced on by Neil

    • merrickswar - Feb 14, 2013 at 5:42 PM

      I’m pretty sure that glove on punches against an unengaged player is at least finable.

    • merrickswar - Feb 14, 2013 at 5:44 PM

      It would be hilarious if Neil got suspended for 1 game after all these people are calling for Cooke to be suspended.

  29. pafinest87 - Feb 14, 2013 at 6:14 AM

    First very unfortunate for a young great player to be significantly injured but I find it hard to believe it was intentional. For you to say why did he lift is skate? Are you kidding me? How many times in every game does a players skate leave the ice? I leave it at that

  30. 8man - Feb 14, 2013 at 6:21 AM

    For me its not about whether it was intentional. I don’t think it was. But it was sloppy. And that’s the danger some of these guys present. Their technique is so bad they are a threat to the safety of everyone else on the ice. High sticking is a perfect example. How hard is it to keep your stick down?

    Very disappointing because I think it was avoidable. Feel awful for Karlsson. Not just because of the loss of time, but the injury sounds painful and gruesome.

  31. ironmike778 - Feb 14, 2013 at 6:51 AM

    Hate the Pens, hate Cooke. That said, what is the problem here? He did nothing wrong. You’ve gotta be out of your mind if you see “dirty” there.

  32. ewoods6 - Feb 14, 2013 at 8:03 AM

    Only absolute morons would think that hit was an intent to injure.

  33. pdmjr - Feb 14, 2013 at 8:25 AM

    Murray’s a goof like Neil. Karlsson should have received an interference penalty. Puck was nowhere near Cooke

  34. greenmtnboy31 - Feb 14, 2013 at 8:37 AM

    Considering Matt Cooke’s well earned, well established and clear reputation and a dirty, cheapshot player, that’s really all Bryan Murray needs to say. Cooke deserves no benefit of the doubt. The play looks harmless enough, but when a player has a reputation for being a complete jackass on the ice, that mentality doesn’t just disappear, but it does rear its ugly head from time to time because that just the type of player involved here. Intent? That’s hard to say, but the result is clear and perpatrator has inflicted serious injury before. Just one more reason to continue my personal lockout of this trashy league.

    • valoisvipers - Feb 14, 2013 at 9:52 AM

      @greenmtnboy31 Why are you posting here if you are currently in a personal lockout? Seems to me you are the jackass and not Matt Cooke.

    • merrickswar - Feb 14, 2013 at 5:34 PM

      That’s pretty ignorant thinking. What should (and did) happen is the league looked at the play, not the players involved, and determined there was no illegal act on the play.

      Please include related articles in your “personal lockout” as well.

  35. nosefacekillah - Feb 14, 2013 at 8:50 AM

    Cooke has earned his reputation with a career of dirty hits. He lost long ago his right to be assumed innocent.

    But this endemic in the team. Mario, with his constant whining, should have dropped this player if he was serious about changing the game. This is no different than when Mario cried he was going to take his stick and go home if they did stop checking him but ran over and kissed Ulf Samuelsson after Ulf ended Neelys career.

    Dirty player, dirty team.

    • valoisvipers - Feb 14, 2013 at 9:55 AM

      nosefacekillah Go stand in the corner and wash your mouth out with soap.

    • btpdiddy - Feb 14, 2013 at 1:48 PM

      That’s the dumbest thing I’ve read on PHT boards, and that’s really saying something….

    • merrickswar - Feb 14, 2013 at 5:39 PM

      People LOVE to hate Pittsburgh. I bet there are a dozen players from whatever team you support that act the same way as Lemieux, Crosby, Malkin, Orpik, Cooke, etc, etc, etc…

  36. pens5829 - Feb 14, 2013 at 9:27 AM

    Bryan Murray reminds me of the Harbaugh brothers. Always whining about something. Why even give him the opportunity to speak? You know a whine is coming…

  37. drez146 - Feb 14, 2013 at 9:47 AM

    Watched the replay several times, I just don’t get why Cooke is bringing his leg up like that, don’t give me that leverage crap, you can accomplish the same thing with both legs on the ice

  38. lionstigersandwingsohmy - Feb 14, 2013 at 9:58 AM

    This kick kind of reminds me on Suh’s kick on Schuab (SP?). In slow motion it is easy to say it was dirty, but at real speed other cuases seem plausible. The thing is it happened in real time, not slow motion.

  39. jaybird22seven - Feb 14, 2013 at 11:10 AM

    I don’t like Matt Cooke at all, but he shouldn’t be blamed for this accident at all. This is going to hurt Ottawa’s season for sure.

  40. podevil - Feb 14, 2013 at 11:44 AM

    Matt Cooke has been a different player. To say he did this on purpose is really moronic. If you watch the video closely, you will see that Karlsson, was skating into Cooke, and Cooke lost his balance..the foot was in the air before they hit the boards, and when he went to regain his balance the skate came down on Karlsson’s leg…Nothing see this happen all the time, and it is surprising that this has not happened more..

  41. jason9696 - Feb 14, 2013 at 1:48 PM

    Bryan Murray is an idiot. There’s no way what happened was intentional.

  42. kaptaanamerica - Feb 14, 2013 at 3:33 PM

    I despise Matt Cooke for ending careers of really good players.this guy knows how to game the system.

  43. merrickswar - Feb 14, 2013 at 5:18 PM

    I can’t stand Matt Cooke but I don’t think the result was his intent. I watched it live and as soon as they showed the replay I immediately thought “slew foot.” Cooke didn’t get the positioning with his upper body to complete that illegal play so he went for containment and this unfortunate accident was the result.

    I understand this is a major injury (career ending a couple decades ago) that takes several months to recover from but I still hope for a speedy recovery for Karlsson. I highly doubt he will have a chance to play again this season; but with the advancement in healthcare and the great treatment he should receive I think he should at least be able to play by next season.

  44. benzoids - Feb 14, 2013 at 5:58 PM

    Murray should have just said, “Suffering Suckatasch”

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. P. Kane (1680)
  2. P. Kessel (1453)
  3. M. Richards (1208)
  4. P. Datsyuk (1070)
  5. N. Backstrom (1029)