Anaheim Ducks enforcer George Parros caught Dallas Stars tough guy Krys Barch with what looked like a pretty clear hit to the head in their game Friday night. There was no penalty called on the check, which left Barch dazed on the Stars’ bench. Parros doesn’t have a history of suspensions on his resume, so he might get a lighter sentence, but many believe he’ll see some kind of discipline from Brendan Shanahan.
How many games – if any – do you think the moustachioed ivy league pugilist should receive for his hit? Let us know in the comments.
No word yet regarding Cory Sarich’s hit on Matt Cooke
After just two games, Pittsburgh Penguins pest Matt Cooke was involved in another head shot. This time around, however, Cooke was the victim.
Calgary Flames defensemen Cory Sarich delivered the hit in question, which many believe qualifies as a an illegal check. Sarich accused Cooke of embellishing the impact, but the NHL shouldn’t just look the other way if something over-the-line happens but a player keeps playing regular shifts.
In fact, considering the way teams are treating “The Quiet Room” like a kind suggestion rather than a hard rule, Cooke’s reaction shouldn’t stop the league from looking at the hit. (If it feels that the check went over the line, of course.)
It’s still relatively early on this Sunday of light action, so it’s possible that Brendan Shanahan will look this over. At this point, there’s no official word regarding any discipline toward Sarich.
Whether you think it’s karma in action or not, an illegal hit is an illegal hit. What do you think, though? Did Sarich make Cooke’s head the principal point of contact? Let us know in the comments.
NHL discipline czar Brendan Shanahan will have a word with Minnesota Wild forward Pierre-Marc Bouchard today. Bouchard drew the ire of the Columbus Blue Jackets for a “baseball swing” on winger Matt Calvert. Bouchard received a four minute double-minor for high-sticking on a play that left Calvert bleeding.
Although Brendan stated that he didn’t intend to hit Ben Smith in the head, the puck-moving blueliner expressed remorse for the end result. Going beyond the players involved, the two teams seemed divided on the check. Chicago’s head coach Joel Quenneville believed it was an obvious illegal hit, while Red Wings bench boss Mike Babcock wondered if Ben Smith put himself in a vulnerable position – at least to some extent.
Either way, Babcock and Brendan Smith alike agreed that the budding prospect needs to learn from this situation.
“It’s a high-risk play when someone tries to cut to the middle,” Brendan Smith said. “It’s not an illegal play on him, and actually, he made a great move. I was actually trying to catch him, because he kind of had a step. I’m going to have to learn from this, for sure. The game moves very quickly. I’m going to have to adjust to it and make sure that I’m in the right place at the right time, so that will never happen (again).”
“(The suspension) ruined my chances of being up here for the start of the season,” Brendan Smith said. “I kind of canceled myself out there, but it’s alright. They told me that I’ll get my chances (in Detroit). We’ll just have to deal with this first. It’s a maturity thing that I’m going to have to learn from.”
Credit Brendan Smith for giving Ben Smith a call to apologize for the hit, whether he believes it was malicious/illegal or not. Maybe it’s not enough to say you’re sorry, but it shows some class and humility to admit you’re wrong. The situation hurts both prospects; Brendan’s pain just isn’t as literal. Hopefully he – and many other players – will learn the best way to handle tough checking situations sooner rather than later.
Penguins GM Ray Shero applauds NHL for Cooke suspension
“The suspension is warranted because that’s exactly the kind of hit we’re trying to get out of the game. Head shots have no place in hockey. We’ve told Matt in no uncertain terms that this kind of action on the ice is unacceptable and cannot happen. Head shots must be dealt with severely, and the Pittsburgh Penguins support the NHL in sending this very strong message.”
This kind of talk from Shero echoes what owner Mario Lemieux spoke out about in the wake of the Islanders-Penguins night of brawls and nonsense back in February, only this time around it applies to someone in house that they employ. It’s no secret that these sorts of plays are the types of things you’ll get out of Cooke but considering the Penguins have him under contract for another two years after this one, we’re guessing this is a “we’re doing this because we love you” kind of situation.
Where suspensions and fines have failed in getting through to Matt Cooke before, perhaps public shaming will finally get through to him. If that doesn’t get him to knock it off with the cheap stuff, where do you go next? At this point, those who say that if the Pens dropped Cooke there’d be 29 other teams ready to pick him up could be wrong.
That sort of negative PR isn’t worth it for teams these days. Perhaps after years of toiling away as a vagabond and public pariah would get him to mellow out (like it has with Todd Bertuzzi) but if teams know a guy is going to play with that particular edge to his game and cost them games and money, forget it. As it is, Cooke will play again for Pittsburgh eventually whether it’s in the second round of the playoffs or next season.
The next step is in Cooke’s hands for how he wants to carry forward in the league and the word from the Penguins seems simple: Shape up or ship out.