Early reports indicate the NHL won’t suspend Matt Cooke for the hit that possibly ended Erik Karlsson’s season, but the Ottawa Senators aren’t happy.
Chris Neil was penalized for roughing Cooke in the third period* of Wednesday’s 4-2 win for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Most interestingly, Senators GM Bryan Murray didn’t give Cooke the benefit of the doubt, as the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Josh Yohe reports.
“It’s Matt Cooke. What else should I say?” Murray said. “Watch the replay.”
Here’s the replay:
Murray’s response comes after hearing that his 22-year-old star defenseman could miss the rest of the season and his team has been hit hard by injuries already. It’s possible Murray might back off his comments once emotions die down a bit.
That said, the comment is also based on Cooke’s long history of questionable hits.
The 34-year-old vowed to change his ways after he received a significant suspension late in 2010-11, reforming to the point that he became Pittsburgh’s Masterton candidate last season. Even so, his rugged style prompts little trust and the occasional question about whether he really changed his ways.
In other words, many assume the worst when it comes to Cooke, including some members of the Senators organization.
* – Both were also ejected from the contest.
Update: Keith Jones and Mike Milbury provide an interesting take on the situation. Milbury predicted Murray’s reaction quite well, by the way:This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!