That sound you just heard was thunderous applause from NHL disciplinarians across the country. Or maybe it was fist-pounding. You just never know.
Notorious dirtball Matt Cooke has reportedly been suspended for the remainder of the regular season and the first round of the playoffs. With 10 games remaining on Pittsburgh’s schedule, that gives the cheap shot artist a minimum of 14 games to plot his next target think about his latest moment of idiocy when his elbow nailed Rangers defenceman Ryan McDonagh in the head on Sunday.
Cooke will go to the press box and feel shame, sitting out the longest suspension in a career that’s seen more than its share of dirty deeds. This is Cooke’s fifth suspension, and his second this season. It was only just over a month ago that Cooke was suspended four games for hitting Blue Jackets defenceman Fedor Tyutin from behind.
At a minimum of 14 total games and a maximum of 17, the ruling on Cooke’s latest bout of stupidity dwarfs the discipline handed down for his hit on Tyutin, which was the longest of his career at the time. Cooke’s three other suspensions were each two games long, meaning by the time this suspension runs its course Cooke will have missed at least 24 games over his 11-year career.
Colin Campbell, the NHL’s senior executive director of hockey operations, said Cooke is a repeat offender who “directly and unnecessarily targeted the head of an opponent who was in an unsuspecting and vulnerable position.”
“This isn’t the first time this season that we have had to address dangerous behavior on the ice by Mr. Cooke,” Campbell added in his official statement. “His conduct requires an appropriately harsh response.”
As usual, the rigid divide in public opinion will emerge, although this time the group saying the suspension is too long will be in the significant minority–hopefully. The much larger group will say it’s too short while looking for Cooke to be banished from North America and sent away on a tiny raft with Sean Avery taking one oar, and Dan Carcillo on the other. If you’re part of the masses who want Cooke to be used as a example for cleansing the game of dirty hits and you aren’t satisfied with this punishment, then only this trip into shark-infested waters will quench your thirst for blood.
No matter where you stand though, there’s one thing we can all agree on: the NHL will be a better place for the next 14 to 17 games without the owner and operator of the league’s jerk store.