Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
So, I suspect readers may be surprised that I have no problem with the controversial hit by Penguins winger Matt Cooke on Boston center Marc Savard last Sunday at Mellon Arena - even though Savard was left with a Grade 2 concussion.
Cooke’s hit was legal by current NHL rules, a league with a thematic rule of accepted violence. These literal and thematic rules are understood when players sign an NHL contract, as is the cold reality that every player’s next shift could be his last.
I do more than feel for Savard. I fear for him because I suspect his life has been forever changed by this serious concussion. I also am thrilled that league general managers have taken a big step toward eliminating blind-side hits by drafting a proposed rule change for next season.
Those hits should be prevented as much as possible, but they cannot be taken out of this game as long as it is played in a confined space at a fast pace by elite athletes trained to be aggressive.
If players aren’t comfortable with the possibility of serious head injuries, if they don’t like it that violence has been and will be a part of the NHL, they should consider switching professions.
note 8:58pm, note sure what happened, but clicking the link now ask for a password so I went to the site, and the story is no longer there. Maybe later?
note: link now working again.
from Alan Maki of the Globe and Mail,
What if matters were reversed and it was Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby felled by a shoulder to his head? What if the Bruins target him in next Thursday’s game? Try to imagine the outrage if Crosby should be sidelined for any length of time, including the playoffs.
This is not a comfortable spot for the NHL, not when a Cooke suspension would have calmed things and prevented a steady cry from veteran NHLers such as Bill Guerin and Vincent Lecavalier calling for a ban on head shots. What we have instead is what we’re hearing and reading: The Bruins are ticked, their fans want revenge.
It’s a bad mix – dangerous, noxious, regrettable. And the game looms ever larger.
from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,
Next Thursday, Pittsburgh visits Boston. By failing to find a way to suspend Cooke for even one game, the league puts the onus on the Bruins to mete out their own vigilante justice.
With that, we have the prospect of another Todd Bertuzzi-Steve Moore incident; an incident where Bruins players — who have been blasted at home for doing nothing at the time of the Cooke hit — act on the pressure to defend Savard.
Or worse, they target the Penguins best player. How would the league look if Savard were not the only one to miss the rest of the season because of a throw-away player like Cooke, but Sidney Crosby was injured as well?
Cooke’s problem, another NHLer said on Thursday, is that he likely doesn’t have any friends inside his own dressing room right now.
“Two guys punch each other’s lights out, then you go to bar and you have a couple of beers together,” said injured Edmonton defenceman Sheldon Souray. “When you’re Matt Cooke, you go to the bar that night and there is no camaraderie. There are no friends.
“When you fight, there is something honourable in that. But you flip that switch — you start hurting guys — there is noting honourable in that.”
from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,
For the last three days at the GM meetings in Boca Raton, Fla., Chiarelli lobbied Campbell to discipline Cooke. Chiarelli said that Cooke, who has a pair of two-game suspensions on his résumé (questionable hits to Artem Anisimov and Scott Walker), qualified as a repeat offender.
Chiarelli’s efforts were for naught.
“What I tried to convince the hockey ops staff was to take it outside of the current rule,’’ Chiarelli said. “Use the repeat offender criteria and implement an infraction on an intent to injure. That infraction and the repeat offender should distinguish it from the Richards hit. They didn’t want to.’’
The only person who seems to understand Colin Campbell’s pattern of punishment is Campbell himself. The suspensions he hands down are arbitrary and erratic—swayed by non-evidence, hunch, gut feelings, anecdotes and back-channel influence peddlers—and they are almost never clearly explained. He establishes precedent and contradicts it. He makes exceptions based on flawed premises and then concludes his arguments illogically and capriciously. No one, no one, knows what is allowed and what is not allowed. It is Dartboard Justice.
-Jack Edwards of NESN. More from Jack…
“The word predatory does come to mind. And you know, I don’t have any trouble with that. When you’re playing hockey, you’re supposed to finish your checks. I don’t think he meant to give him a Grade 2 concussion. That’s Matt Cooke’s game. He’s supposed to be a guy that finishes his checks, that agitates a little bit, that can play a little bit of hockey. He’s not a slug, But he’s no Sidney Crosby. His job is to make sure he punishes people when he gets the opportunity. Intent to injure? I don’t know. That’s a hard one to pin on anybody. Certainly, ready to finish his check with authority.”
-Mike Milbury on the hit on Marc Savard by Matt Cooke. More from Milbury at WEEI.
from Stephen Harris of the Boston Herald,
All Marc Savard wanted to do was go home and sleep.
“Right now, I just need rest,” said the injured Bruins [team stats] star as he sat in Pittsburgh International Airport awaiting a mid-day flight to Boston. “I’m exhausted.”
Savard was knocked unconscious by a blindside hit to the head from Penguins forward Matt Cooke Sunday, suffering a concussion and damaged jaw during the Bruins’ 2-1 loss. He was walking and talking very slowly in the airport, although the fact he was able to traverse the several hundred yards to the Boston gate under his own power had to be a good sign. With many concussed athletes, it’s sometimes difficult to walk across a room.
“I think that’s a good sign,” said Savard of his being able to walk without dizziness or balance problems. He was examined by physicians in Pittsburgh yesterday before he was cleared to fly.
No penalty on the play and no update on Savard who went off on a strether.
The video is raw and I will try to find a better quality vid soon (found one)
added 7:05pm, via the Boston Bruins,
Marc lost consciousness briefly on the ice after being struck in the head. He suffered a concussion from the hit. He was not transported to a hospital, but will remain at the team hotel in Pittsburgh with a member of the Bruins’ medical staff tonight as a precaution.
No further update on Marc’s condition is expected tonight.
Don Cherry thinks so.
Watch the fight, then Cherry’s comments follow.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Judging from the reaction on our ESPN.com message boards, the angriest hockey fans in North America on Wednesday lived in Philadelphia and Boston.
And the puckheads in Chicago were a little disappointed the juggernaut Blackhawks didn’t improve in goal, which, quite frankly, was never going to be easy given Cristobal Huet’s massive contract.
Did the Blackhawks make a phone call?
“We talked to a lot of people about lots of things, not necessarily about that, but just nothing made sense,” Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman told ESPN.com on Wednesday evening. “It takes two to tango. Sometimes you want to do something and they don’t, and sometimes they want too much and that’s why deals don’t get made.
“It never really got too heated up on any one front, to be honest,” Bowman added. “That’s just the way it went.”
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