Cooke’s latest questionable hit stirs up controversy across NHL
While hockey is one of the sports where in-game fighting is most prevalent, you can easily make the argument that Pittsburgh Penguins winger Matt Cooke takes it too far.
When Matt Cooke collided with Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators Wednesday, he did not just knock him down. While pushing Karlsson in the wall, Cooke’s skate banged into Karlsson’s leg, lacerating Karlsson’s Achilles tendon. Karlsson went down immediately, needed help off the ice and will now require surgery to repair the tendon. He is out indefinitely.
Cooke had few words to say on the issue.
“He and I were engaged. He went down screaming,” Cooke said. “I didn’t even know what happened.”
Senator’s captain Daniel Alfredsson did not buy Cooke’s excuse for a second.
“I don’t know if it was intentional. But why would you hit someone that way?” Alfredsson said.
This is not Cooke’s first incident involving foul play; over the years Cooke has been cast as a villain among the media and fans for his reputation for cheap shots and habit of injuring everyone around him. Cooke is the player responsible for the hit that has seemingly ended Bruins’ forward Marc Savard‘s career. Then, in 2011, Cooke received a 14-game suspension for elbowing New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh in the back of the head.
The NHL slapped the ban quite quickly to send a message to all the players that such brawling tactics will not be tolerated. There has even been talk that Cooke may be banned from the game for his repeat offenses.
It does not seem as if Cooke will be punished for this latest incident; it’s difficult due to the speed of hockey to position yourself in a premeditated fashion in order to slice someone’s tendon. Still, Erik Karlsson will be watching hockey for the remainder of the season all because of one simple hit on the ice.