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.