Believe it or not, there was more going on besides the NCAA tournament. Here’s a few highlights and as always, you can expect some of it to get discussed Wednesday night on the BangCast. Check your local blog listings, they’ll point you right back here.
Starting with news that broke this afternoon. We had talked about the huge Pens-Isles fight a month or so back (original article here) and it devolved into TJ and I going back and forth over Mario Lemieux and eventually, Matt Cooke. I maintained that Cooke was a cheap-shotting sob that actually hurt the game more than the brawl and that Lemieux could have tempered his words leveled at the NHL considering one of the dirtiest players of all time resides on his roster. YouTube is replete with evidence of this. Now what kind of Masters student would I be without citing my sources…
Cooke’s cheap shot on the Blue Jackets’ Fedor Tyutin last month. That one earned him a 4-game suspension.
This hit on the Rangers’ Artem Anisimov from November of ’09 cost him 2 games
I couldn’t find videos of the other two hits that got Cooke suspended for a game each. Instead, other questionable plays.
Here a questionable knee-on-knee hit on Alexander Ovechkin back in February.
And this elbow to the head of the Coyotes’ Keith Yandel from last December.
And this hit to the head of the Canucks Marc Savard in March of 2010.
Savard got a concussion, Cooke got nothing from the league. However, he did draw the ire of one Don Cherry:
Finally, Cooke kicks Chris Osgood during the 2009 Stanley Cup Finals.
So with all that background, it came down today that Matt Cooke will sit for the rest of the season and the first round of the playoffs for this hit to the head of the Rangers’ Ryan McDonagh.
There is a ton to be said on this and I’ll do it on the BangCast (spoiler alert: it’s my parting shot this week) but this had to be done if the league is serious about cracking down on hits to the head. This situation is just as dangerous as hits in the NFL and possibly even more dangerous depending on the hit, what with the exposed faces and jaws in hockey.
Finally, this is all I have to say. I believe Armando V. will be happy to fill you in on the details.