Matt Cooke of the Pittsburgh Penguins just got handed a suspension for elbowing Ranger’s defenseman Ryan McDonagh in the head in a 5-2 loss. Cooke is known as a dirty player who has amassed a lengthy portfolio of suspensions and injured players.
Cooke loves finishing his hits, but often crosses the line, such as sticking out his knee or elbow and not holding back when a player is vulnerable.
The Penguins have 10 games left in the regular season, which Cooke will miss. In addition somewhere between 4 to 7 of the Penguins playoff games, he will watch while wearing a suit. With Crosby and Malkin out of the line up the Penguins have relied on gritty players like Cooke, Talbot, Staal, Rupp, and newly acquired Neal to provide a different style of hard hitting hockey along with a little bit of speed and skill from guys like Kovalev, Kennedy, Dupuis, Letestu and Kunitz. Cooke is not a top player by any means, but with the injury troubles that the Penguins have had they need all the help they can get.
That being said, Cooke definitely deserves this punishment and seems to really be on Colin Campbell’s bad side. He should be careful because his next suspension could see him out for over 20-30 games. This was a great statement move for Colin Campbell in showing that there is no tolerance for those kind of hits, especially after the GM meetings last week in Florida.