The NHL has weighed in on Matt Cooke and his disgusting hit from behind on Columbus’ Fedor Tyutin and they’ve suspended the infamous Penguins forward for four games.
Earlier today, I spoke out firmly about the NHL’s need to set an example that Cooke’s style of play in consistently crossing the line and endangering his opponents should not be tolerated. A four game band for Cooke doesn’t exactly send the message intended but serves as a warning to him that further instances, ideally, will end up having stiffer penalties from the league office.
With the league office operating under such secretive means in how it doles out punishment from on high we’re never quite sure what their ruling will be, but a four game suspension in this case shows the NHL is showing signs of getting away from the “no blood, no foul, no punishment” means of doing their job.
Given Cooke’s résumé of work the last two seasons alone in how he’s been able to skirt by without getting sat down the NHL missed an opportunity to hand down a punishment befitting a guy of Cooke’s ilk. Cooke’s objectionable play not only does a disservice to the league but also to his injury-decimated team that has to fill his spot with another youngster for the next four games. With Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby, and Mark Letestu all out having to fill the spot of another important player for a selfish play makes life harder for the Penguins on the ice.
If there’s an angle to Cooke’s play that coach Dan Bylsma has to approach to him it should be something along those lines. We know Bylsma like Cooke playing with an edge to his game, but stirring up this brand of trouble just makes things worse for Pittsburgh on and off the ice.