Matt Cooke hasn’t ever been a guy that gets the benefit of the doubt when there’s a questionable play or hit. He’s done enough in his past to make sure that if he’s around when something dastardly goes down, chances are he’s getting booked for it.
Last night in St. Louis, however, Matt Cooke sure seemed to be innocent of any evil wrongdoing when he checked Blues defenseman Barrett Jackman late in the third period. Rather than describe how the play went down, see for yourself courtesy of The Score.
Cooke was given two minutes for boarding late in the third period of a tie game, a brutal penalty to take.
What seems to be the case here, however, is that Jackman appeared to turn himself into the hit and throw himself face-first into the boards. When Cooke goes to deliver the hit, he’s hitting Jackman from the side, but Jackman winds up going face first into the glass. It’s a dubious play at best and at worst it’s a reputation call for Cooke and an embarrassing exaggeration by Jackman to draw a call.
Cooke has been a relative saint this season with just 16 penalty minutes. After a brutal year last season that saw him wind up getting suspended for the end of the regular season and playoffs, he’s cleaned up his game in a big way.
In this instance, however, it shows that reputations are harder to kill than anything.
Saturday’s been unkind to the Toronto Maple Leafs, and not just on the scoreboard (where it’s 3-0 early on against the Ottawa Senators).
The Maple Leafs lost Tyler Bozak to an apparent upper-body injury thanks to a questionable hit by Sens forward Mika Zibanejad.
You can judge that check (which drew a minor penalty for illegal check to the head) in the video above. Again, Bozak will not return to tonight’s game.
It’s unclear if Bozak will miss time beyond this contest.
Scary stuff on Saturday: multiple reporters (including the Maine Hockey Journal’s Chris Roy) note that Malcolm Subban was taken to a hospital after a puck struck his throat during warm-ups.
There’s no word yet on Subban’s condition beyond that he was taken away in an ambulance.
The AHL’s Providence Bruins seem like they’ve been left scrambling for a backup goalie in Subban’s absence.
Subban stated days ago that he’s taken some significant steps forward during the 2015-16 season.
The Ottawa Senators cannot pin all of their troubles on missing their No. 1 center, yet it probably feels like a huge relief to get him back.
After missing six games with his latest injury, Kyle Turris is in the lineup as the Senators take on the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Again, it’s not all a matter of missing Turris, but the Senators went 1-5-0 during his six-game absence. They’ve really been falling since late December, to be honest.
Will Turris be enough to stop the bleeding? Perhaps to an extent, but the Senators are in for a serious battle if they hope to fight through the East bubble.
Times have been tough for Montreal Canadiens and Edmonton Oilers fans lately, even if they’ve been frustrating in different ways.
Saturday’s 5-1 Habs win highlights a few things, but the most tantalizing thought for those fans is that it’s likely that we’ll see more great things from P.K. Subban and Connor McDavid … sometimes against each other.
Perhaps this will be a confidence booster for Montreal. More than anything else, it directed attention to Subban, who’s quietly been absolutely fantastic for the floundering Canadiens.
Consider how much of an offensive burden he’s currently carrying:
From one current All-Star to someone who could be a perennial one: McDavid certainly seemed to grab Subban’s attention.
Then again, when you make moves like these, who won’t notice?
The Oilers did lose, mind you, so it’s not surprising that Todd McLellan mentioned that the team can’t depend upon McDavid for everything.
That said, the funny thing about that quote is that McDavid might just carry the Oilers for two decades, at least if health and other factors go the right way.
If that’s true, Subban vs. McDavid could be a fun matchup to watch a few times per season for a long, long time.