On Thursday, Ottawa Senators general manager Bryan Murray chose to be pretty diplomatic in his assessment of Pittsburgh Penguins forward Matt Cooke after the NHL determined that his role in star defenseman Erik Karlsson’s season-ending injury wasn’t a punishable offense.
“They suggested it was a hockey play gone bad,” Murray said. “I suggested Cooke has somewhat of a history.”
His boss, Senators owner Eugene Melnyk wasn’t in the mood to pull his punches.
“I’m very upset, actually I’m more than upset, I’m outraged that in this day and age this continues,” said Melnyk, according to the Ottawa Sun.
He recognized that it’s the NHL’s job to judge whether or not the incident was accident, but Melnyk doesn’t think Cooke should have been allowed to play on Wednesday — or any day — in the first place.
For years Melnyk has wanted lifetime bans to be issued to repeat offended and clearly he thinks that Cooke, who has been suspended five times, qualifies.
“This guy should be kicked … He doesn’t belong in the league. He belongs somewhere where the goons play,” said Melnyk. “Get him in the Central league. He can be a $60,000-a-year guy playing pick-up hockey there.
“The guy does not deserve … He’s got one purpose.”
For his part, Cooke said that his skate cutting Karlsson was unintentional.
“He and I were engaged. He went down screaming,” Cooke said. “I didn’t even know what happened.”