Matt Cooke: Once a Hockey Goon, Always a Hockey Goon?

Anyone who still doubts that NHL Senior Vice President of Player Safety Brendan Shanahan is really really bad at his job comes Reason No. 345,458,945,678 why Shanahan needs to be fired: He thinks it’s perfectly fine that Pittsburgh Penguins assassin thug goon forward Matt Cooke sliced the Achilles’ tendon of Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson, ending the star’s season.

That’s right; the head of the department of player safety doesn’t think cutting 70 percent of a player’s Achilles’ tendon is an issue.

Judge for yourself: The incident first happens about 7 seconds into this clip, but watch for replays from different angles that show a clear stomping motion by Cooke.

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NHL Condones Another Bad Hit

Savard suffered a grade 2 concussion.

As a devoted N.Y. Rangers fan, I will never be confused with someone who is sympathetic to the Boston Bruins, but even I have to admit that NHL discipline czar Colin Campbell (a former Rangers coach) made a massive mistake by not imposing a suspension on the Pittsburgh Penguins’ would-be tough guy Matt Cooke for inflicting a cheap-shot on the Bruins’ Marc Savard (a former Rangers player) this week.

Savard is finished for the season, yet Campbell declared the hit clean. No penalty was called at the time, but I figured that was because no on-ice official actually saw the incident. Among the justifications for the non-call Campbell served up: Cooke did not leave his feet to deliver the blow; the hit did not meet a league standard for unsuspecting; and shoulder checks are legal. Campbell claimed the “intent to injure” clause did not apply because he apparently could find no reason to apply it. Further, Campbell noted that he wanted the league policy in such a situation to be “consistent,” and cited a case from earlier in the season in which the Philadelphia Flyers’ Mike Richards inflicted a concussion on the Florida Panthers’ David Booth and did not receive a suspension.
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