Those of you that have read my blogs before know that I think Matt Cooke has some skill as a hockey player -- he serves a useful purpose as an agitator/checking forward, is a great penalty killer and also has some offensive skill.
You also know that I wrote a blog back when Cooke hit Savard and called for a suspension even though, at the time, Cooke's hit was considered a "clean" one by the rulebook (which has since been changed because of this hit).
Yesterday, Matt Cooke earned a 5 minute major penalty and game misconduct for an elbow he threw against the New York Rangers Ryan McDonagh. Luckily, Ryan was not seriously injured. The penalty took place at 4:36 of the 3rd period of what was, at the time, a hard -- cleanly fought -- 1-1 tie.
Like the Savard hit...and others Cooke has been involved in during his career, this is another tally mark on the side of what Matt Cooke COSTS his team...in the ongoing Matt Cooke Cost/Benefit Analysis.
Truth be told, the Penguins did score a short handed goal (by Jordan Staal) during the 5 minute major given to Cooke and the Rangers DID NOT score any power play goals during the 5 minute major. The Rangers did however score 2 goals during the overlapping double-minor that was given to Matt Niskanen.
Someone could argue that Cooke's major penalty didn't cost the Penguins during this game.
But those of us who know better realize that the Penguins penalty killing unit was pretty gassed by the time the Rangers scored the first of their power play goals...and that was the direct result of killing off the 5 minute major that Cooke drew.
And those of us that know better realize that Matt Cooke's actions are starting to cost this team in ways that the better aspects of his game don't make up for.
The elbow he threw yesterday is indefensible. There is no good explanation for the hit. No way to say it was an accident. No reason he should have done what he did when he did it.
It was an insanely STUPID play...that turns into another tarnished example of what others have been saying for a while now...Matt Cooke just doesn't get it. He either just doesn't see where the line is that he keeps crossing OR he sees it and just doesn't care that he crosses it. Either way, the costs associated with having Matt Cooke are starting to be more expensive to this team, it's image and the image of it's fans, than any of the benefits he provides.
It has gotten to the point where not only are actions like this indefensible, continuing to have him on this team has become that too.
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