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Monday March 21, 2011 11:35 pm

Matt Cooke suspended 10 games plus playoffs

Posted by Adrien Griffin Categories: Athletes, Injuries, NHL, Playoffs,

Matt CookeMatt Cooke is relentless. He seems to have a vampiric lust for brains and will stop at nothing to see them oozing out of his opponent’s ears after delivering a vicious head shot. His latest infraction came on Sunday when he laid out New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh with his elbow, effectively challenging NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell to either start a new chapter in punishment for the kind of hits nobody wants to see, or let history repeat itself by doling out a meaningless penalty.

Campbell responded by giving Cooke a 10-game suspension – more than double that of any of his previous suspensions. Cooke is also suspended for the first round of the playoffs. The Penguins organization – lead by Mario Lemieux, who very recently called out the NHL for not being tough enough on these kinds of hits – have said they fully support the NHL’s decision to suspend Cooke, and good for them for sticking to their word. Now if we could only rid the league of Cooke himself.

One thing you have to wonder is what the suspension would have been if this happened earlier in the season and not with only 10 games left. The addition of a four-to-seven game series tacked on makes the suspension appear worse, but Cooke really isn’t losing too much there. NHL players don’t get paid for the playoffs, they’re only entitled to playoff bonus money, and there is no reason to believe Cooke won’t get it.

Clearly Cooke hasn’t learned anything from his previous suspensions, so it’s good to see the NHL dealing out a sentence of some significance. If nothing else, it sets a new bar for suspending players with a proven history giving head shots. Going forward, the NHL shouldn’t use this latest suspension as precedent for future suspensions – not even for multiple offenders. Each incident needs to be reviewed based on the offending player, and they need to get progressively harsher. Only then will players like Cooke understand.



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