Matt Cooke

Cooke reaches out to Karlsson via text


Pittsburgh forward Matt Cooke faced a throng of reporters today in Winnipeg prior to tonight’s Penguins-Jets game.

Obviously, everyone wanted to know what Cooke had to say two days after his skate blade cut Ottawa defenseman Erik Karlsson’s Achilles’ tendon, ending the 22-year-old’s season.

Per the Winnipeg Sun, Cooke said he texted Karlsson, but “whether or not he responds to me, I understand. At the end of the day, it was a freak, unfortunate accident and I can’t control anything else but that.”

Cooke also said he understands Senators owner Eugene Melnyk’s frustration, though he was “sorry” Melnyk feels Cooke doesn’t belong in the NHL.

Clearly, the 34-year-old knows his reputation precedes him, but he says this incident isn’t like the ones that earned him the reputation.

“This is different than it was in the past for me,” he said. “I know where my head is and how I feel about the play and that’s what’s most important.”

Video: Flyers, Bolts confirm 3-on-3 OT is pretty much the greatest thing ever

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Well, the NHL’s two new initiatives for ’15-16 seem to be going swimmingly.

Not long after Ottawa successfully made the second-ever coach’s challenge, fans got their first look at 3-on-3 overtime.

And what a look it was.

In the span of 137 seconds, the Tampa Bay Lightning and Philadelphia Flyers combined for eight shots on goal, a few breakaways, some tremendous saves — including one on a penalty shot — and, finally, Jason Garrison‘s game-winning goal on a breakaway from center, giving the Bolts a 3-2 win.

It was, in a word, fun.

Lots of fun.

A quick sampling of reviews:

Of course, not everybody was a fan:

Now, to temper things a bit — this was the first time we’ve seen 3-on-3 with something on the line, so there was a novelty factor at play. There’s also no guaranteeing future OT sessions will be as exciting as this.

But none of that takes away from the fact 3-on-3 made for appointment viewing, and immense entertainment value. The prospect of future games like this? That’s pretty exciting.

In Jets return, Burmistrov delivers headshot to Bergeron (Updated)


Didn’t take long for Alex Burmistrov to make his presence felt — though not in a good way.

Burmistrov, playing in his first game for the Jets after a two-year stint in Russia, delivered a questionable elbow to the head of Boston’s Patrice Bergeron late in the first period of Thursday’s season-opener:

Burmistrov received a two-minute minor for an illegal check to the head, while Bergeron received a matching minor for roughing (retaliating for the elbow, specifically).

The Bruins went into the intermission leading 1-0, and have yet to update Bergeron’s status.

Update: Bergeron stayed in the game, but B’s head coach Claude Julien was none too pleased with the hit. Following the game, he called for the NHL’s Department of Player Safety to look at it…