When Matt Cooke elbowed Ryan McDonagh in the head yesterday many people were left wondering what he was thinking.  It was a 1-1 tie in the third period of a game against a division rival.  It was just days after NHL general managers met to discuss head shots and discipline.  The Pittsburgh Penguins already have a depleted roster due to injuries – including a concussion to their captain Sidney Crosby.  Mario Lemieux and Ray Shero had both spoken out against head shots and hockey violence in recent weeks.

What was Matt Cooke thinking when he drove his elbow into McDonagh’s head for essentially no reason?

Perhaps we’ll never know, but that doesn’t stop us from speculating.  We’ve come up with a list of what we think hockey players are thinking right before they elbow someone in the head.

  • “My shoulder hurts.  I’ll stretch my arm out a little bit as I’m skating.  Hey look, another player!”
  • “That guy looks pretty pale.  He also seems to be disoriented and very hungry.  He must be a zombie.  Taking off his head is the only way to prevent a brutal zombie apocalypse.”
  • “I’m like a bird, I’ll only fly away!”
  • “You know what would be fun to do right now?  The chicken dance.”
  • “Mario Lemieux said what!?”

  • “What’s that Mr. Elbow? You’d like to meet his head? Well, okay!”
  • “It would be really cool to be Macho Man Randy Savage.”
  • “I’m sweating a lot.  Do I smell bad?  I’d better check my pits.”
  • “You know who has two elbows and likes to cause damage? THIS GUY!”
  • “I should really do more to participate in studies on brain injuries.  So should he.”
  • “La la la la la la la la la la!”
  • “Did the NHL say it was bad to elbow in the head? No, no. I think they said ‘Don’t smelbow in the dead.’ That must have been it. What’s a ‘smelbow‘ anyway? Stupid NHL.”
  • “Elbowing that guy in the head is the quickest way to get to those tasty, tasty brains.”

  • “What did you say about my mom!?”
  • “I bet this will get me on ESPN!”
  • “Maybe if I raise my arms up I’ll skate faster!”
  • “The inconsistency of NHL officiating and the seemingly erratic manner in which players are fined and suspended is one of the major issues in the league today. As a player, it is my responsibility to push the limits of the league’s disciplinary process in order to force them to conduct a thorough review of their practices and hopefully start them on the road towards meaningful change that will make the sport safer for everyone involved.”
  • “Smashy, smashy!”
  • “Is my name Matt Cooke?  Yes?  Elbow!”