On Chara - This is a tough one to call when it comes to intent.
The result is obviously disasterous ...BUT...a few more feet up the boards and it likely would have only been a body check that Pacioretty would have gotten up from.
The much more important question is...
If a player injures another player via a penalty...like a late hit in this case...shouldn't there be an automatic suspension?
Let's say this was a check that occured as soon as Pacioretty passed the puck...within the normal guidelines...then I can see how there would be no suspension.
BUT...since this was a late hit...and it's really tough to agrue that it wasn't...it was a penalty call during the game...and the player is injured...I think there should be an automatic suspension of at least 1 game.
On Cooke - haven't read the Sports Illustrated article yet...curious to see if it rips Cooke as badly as they say.
Given Cooke's past, it would be tough to argue against a report that blasts him.
I will say this though...since he has returned from suspension, I have seen him play smarter hockey. He has proven on a few occasions that he's more than just a borderline player. I hope this continues.
On suspensions - Suspensions, do they work?
I know of one way to change the suspension process to have a larger impact on the player and the team...make the team skate a player less during the suspension games.
Giving Cooke a 4 game suspension hurts...but making the Penguins skate 1 less player for those 4 games would REALLY hurt.
If you want to see guys ensure that they won't get suspended, then making their team have one less rostered player in a suspension case is the way to go.
If the NHL is serious about reducing the number of injuries from hits that are the result of a rules infraction, then they will seriously consider a starting roster reduction for the suspended player(s).
Of course, there might have to be some limit or specific rules as to when this applies...if a bench clearing brawl occurs, you can't make a team 3 players short for the next game if there were numerous suspensions that resulted from the brawl...OR...can you?