Through the looking glass...

    Let me preface this whole article with this: I wish Marc Savard a speedy and full recovery and for him to get back into the Bruins lineup as soon as possible.

    I will freely admit, against popular opinion, that I do not think Matt Cooke’s hit upon Marc Savard is dirty. I have watched the video far too many times now. I will say that walks that line closely, but the impact was shoulder to head. I will also freely admit that it was extremely dangerous and avoidable. In Cooke’s defense, he is paid to make that hit. He wasn’t brought in for an amazing scoring ability. He is a grinder. In his defensive zone, he is required to remove that player from the puck. Marc Savard was in the follow through of his shot and was in a prime position to get hurt on the back check. I am NOT insinuating that Savard was at fault. Just that his head was in a prime location for a hit. Now, I didn’t think it was dirty then at the time of the incident and I still don’t think it is now. When I watched the video the first time, I looked at the elbow, and I looked at the skates. I would point out that skates were on the ice, the elbow was low, and the elbow did not move until after impact. The NHL supposedly looks at those 2 details specifically when these hits occur. This is only what I saw, and everyone sees it differently, and I am certainly open to hearing your opinions (rationally, please). I would say it’s a rare moment in time when Don Cherry, Barry Melrose and I see that same thing, even more rare that we agree on the legality of something. It is easy to get caught up in the result of the hit. There is no reason to not be upset with the resulting injury but in the eyes of the Discipline Commandoes at the NHL offices there really is nothing that they can do. This group really botched the Richards/Booth incident, which was a far more brutal hit. Colin Campbell removed himself from that incident however, due to the fact that his son plays for Florida (and the smartest thing he did for that situation).

    So here we are, an ugly incident with a serious injury. Some suggest a lengthy suspension using the “repeat offender” status. How exactly is that a repeat offender issue when no penalty was called on the play?  I completely understand how the Bruins and their fans feel about this and it’s horrible. Penguins fans know this feeling too. During the last playoff run, Sergei Gonchar took a knee on knee hit from Alexander Ovechkin, and yes, we too cried foul at the time. Ovie’s hit was also borderline legal. At the time, I could see the argument that the Caps were trying to make, but it didn’t change how I felt about losing our most important PP quarterback. The hardest part is separating the hit from the result. That is the hardest part that the league is having with this. By definition, the hit is clean and the injury is unfortunate. If Matt Cooke scores 50 goals a year, we are aren’t even having this discussion other than fans jobbing the Penguins for being “above the law”.  Colin Campbell did, in fact, suspend Ovechkin this season for his knee on knee antics and thus setting up a “repeat offender” status for him moving forward. Ovie’s hit on Gleason was penalized. Cooke’s was not.

While a possible suspension is still looming for Cooke, I will leave you with this video collection to view, watch it and then ask yourself this: This guy is laying out the same hits all the time and has done it routinely enough, yet gets marketed to no end, he is referred to as a “passionate player”. Matt Cooke makes hits, he is a “cheap shot” artist.

"Hitting people in the head w/ ur shoulder is part of NHL hockey. We're big boys. Discuss.." @JLUPUL via Twitter yesterday. 

I would be willing to bet he isn't the only one thinking that.

Facebook Twitter Delicious Digg Favorites More Stumbleupon