It’s been a while since I wrote anything of substance on this site, as my director role and main writings for my team site, The Rat Trick have taken up an enormous amount of my time recently. However, I was incensed enough by the once again demonstration of goonery by Pittsburgh Penguin forward Gnat Matt Cooke, that I needed to break the silence.
For the umpteenth time Cooke finds himself in the center of NHL controversy for guess what? Another vicious hit. Are you surprised? I’m not. Quite frankly I’m getting pretty figgin’ tired of it as well. My personal opinion is that Matt Cooke is goon. A player that while has some level of skill, is a complete waste of a roster spot, a player that doesn’t respect the game nor his colleagues, and should have received a suspension worth more than just four games. His hit on Columbus Blue Jacket defenceman Fedor Tyutin was blatant, brutal, and completely unnecessary. You can see it for yourself here. Cooke had more than enough time to slow up, let alone decide that he didn’t need to leave his feet to make the hit.
At what point is the NHL going to wake up and throw the book at this guy? Colin Campbell and Gary Bettman, get your heads out of the clouds. This player has done nothing for the game, except pick his spots to injure players. On purpose. Players that have more courage in their little finger than Cooke has in his whole body. Someone tell me otherwise. The hit on Marc Savard last year? Could have ended Savard’s career. What about how he hit Erik Cole in the playoffs in 2009, or his elbow to Anton Anisimov in 2009? How many more incidents like these do we need to see.
The phrase “repeat offender” is defined by Cooke, and he should have to pay for his asinine decisions once and for all. Jeremy Roenick called it right today on XM-NHL when he called Cooke “chicken crap”. If Cooke had little respect around the league before, he will have even less now. Plus how does this hit on Tyutin make his teammates feel when their own star Sidney Crosby is out with a concussion himself. Forget about whether the hit from Dave Steckel was legal or not, you would think that Cooke might have given all of this some thought and might have tightened things up a bit. I guess there’s only so much thinking a small brain can do.
I will be the first fan to tell you that I absolutely love the physical aspect of hockey. The hitting, the checking, and the occasional fight. It’s all part of the game and within reason must stay. However Cooke’s continued abuse of opponents and his misguided efforts have done enough harm to enough players and to the integrity of the game itself, that a more severe punishment needs to take place. Maybe more than a four game suspension for last night’s hit isn’t warranted, but since he is a repeat offender the NHL need so make it a bit more painful for him. Like JR said, hit him in the wallet as well. That is probably the only place where a player like Cooke just might get the message.
The game of hockey has been changing over the years. Players are now bigger, the equipment that they use is bigger, and the game is significantly faster. All that however doesn’t give a player like Cooke license to roam around the ice and looking for the most vulnerable player to hit at the most vulnerable time. What a great example of himself he is giving his child to see. There will be no highlight reels of Matt Cooke on You Tube. Only selfish and violent hits from behind, or hits that were made blindside for his family to remember him by.
Hitting in the game of hockey used to be about finishing your checks. About playing the body. About separating the player from the puck. Not about putting the player in the fifth row.
Surely Penguin fans will defend him and they will have their own opinions of him, but the bottom line is, he is a dirty and malicious player. He doesn’t respect himself, his teammates or the game.
For that, I would never want him on my team.
Thanks for reading.