Posted 9:50 AM ET | Comments 1
For the record, I like Matt Cooke. I think he's a player that brings a good combination of grit and skill to the rink on a daily basis. The Penguins are a better team with him in the line-up.
That said, Cooke's hit on Marc Savard the other night is unacceptable.
Even if Cooke had kept his arm against his body, in what would have been a completely legal play, I still would not have liked the hit.
It's a classic case of an unsuspecting player being blindsided by another player that clearly has the time and space to measure up his opponent and deliver a hit that's likely to lead to injury.
During a game, players say and do things to eachother that sometimes lead to incidents on the ice. I have no idea what might have occurred before this that may have led to the hit Cooke put on Savard. But it is my belief that NO PLAYER should EVER make a hit like this, legal or not, because in the context of the game that is being played, it really serves no purpose other than to potentially cause an injury.
For his part, I think Cooke felt badly about the hit...after the fact. It may have been his intention to just fly past Savard and catch a piece of his shoulder or body along the way. But that's clearly not what happened. And clearly it is a type of hit that EVERY NHL player knows is risky, because of the body position of the player that is taking the shot.
Cooke definitely needs to be suspended and players need to stop taking advantage of situations like this, legal or not. These hits don't add anything to the game and ultimately they lead to talented players like Savard being out of action for (sometimes) extended periods of time.
I'd rather watch Marc Savard play the next X games he will miss, than see the hit that Cooke put on him.