The Pittsburgh Penguins faced the Ottawa Senators Monday night, and there was more than enough tension throughout the entire game. Erik Karlsson received an Achilles tendon laceration on February 13th caused by Penguins’ Matt Cooke. The
two went to the boards to fight for the puck when Cooke’s foot rose up, then he went to put it back on the ice, and his skate inserted Karlsson’s ankle. When skating off the ice, the Norris Trophy winner applied no pressure at all to his leg, skating with it levitated the entire time. Matt Cooke has said multiple times that it was unintentional and he didn’t know how close his leg was to Karlsson’s.
The start of the game was eventful. Chris Neil of the Senators tried to fight with Matt Cooke. He stood in front of him and pushed him a few times, and then they skated away. It’s an understatement when I say there was some chirping, but it seemed that everyone was out to get Cooke. It was only a matter of time before Cooke reacted to this type of play. For the third goal, he battled along the corner boards for the puck, beating two Sens and fluttered it to the front where he found Tyler Kennedy for his sixth goal of the season. The victory was a good win for the Penguins, but I think they won the game because Ottawa, mostly Neil, was focused on revenge rather than playing the game. Cooke commented about the injury and the future after the game. “We’re leaving here with two points and putting pressure on Chicago for first overall,” he said, “It’s not even about [the Karlsson injury] anymore. It was a freak accident and there was nothing I could have done to change it. It’s an unfortunate part of this game. I’m happy he’s having a great recovery and hopefully he’s playing soon.”
Brenden Morrow had a great game Monday. He showed a true skill that has really helped the Penguins since his arrival. He had a good pass to Dustin Jeffrey to start the scoring, and then fed an unbelievable pass to Jarome Iginla who netted the puck for the second goal. Morrow was also named the first star of the game. Other notable things about this game are Tomas Vokoun and coach Dan Bylsma. Tomas Vokoun has registered his 300th victory in his 700th career game. He had 34 saves and one goal against. Dan Bylsma has reached his 200thwin as the coach of the
Penguins, in only 316 games, which is the fastest in league history to reach the milestone.
I think Matt Cooke should have taken this situation a little differently. During pre-game warm-ups, he should have approached Daniel Alfredsson and gave him his condolences and told him that he hopes Karlsson recovers 100%. Explain to him that what happened was a complete accident, and you are very sorry for how it went down. This could have eased the tension, especially with Chris Neil, and maybe the Senators would have taken their focus off of Cooke and more towards trying to get the puck past Vokoun.
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