Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Matt's goose Cooked
So, the torch-bearing mobs finally got their pound of flesh. The NHL has suspended Pittsburgh's Matt Cooke for the last 10 games of the regular season and the first round of the playoffs, which is about what the righteous masses were demanding for Zdeno Chara after his hit on Max Pacioretty two weeks ago.
The Cooke case is more cut and dried on several levels. Unlike Chara, Cooke is a repeat offender, was clearly targeting his opponent's head and couldn't find a character witness if he was equipped with a search warrant and a pack of trained bloodhounds. His own coach and general manager even threw Cooke under the bus and then took turns driving it back and forth over the body a few times for good measure.
In and of itself, ten games and a playoff series for Matt Cooke isn't going to resolve the NHL's head shot dilemma. If it takes as many incidents as Cooke has been involved in for the league to lower the boom, players are still going to be inclined to take liberties. But the league has at least sent a messsage and set a precedent, which is exactly what its most ardent critics have been demanding in lieu of life at hard labor in a Siberian prison camp for Zdeno Chara.