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Regardless of Reputation, Cooke is Not Guilty Until Proven Innocent

You knew it would be just a matter of time even before Erik Karlsson left the ice, even before the injury was confirmed to be a lacerated Achilles tendon,

The "lacerater" was none other than Matt Cooke, and it was an intentional, vicious and dirty act.

Or so you would be made to believe.

Disregard how Cooke has drastically changed his physical play, whose PIM's went down from 128 to 44 over the last two seasons.

You see, amongst many NHL fans, and now the Ottawa Senators, Cooke can do no right.  His past reputation has seemingly sealed his fate with all future controversial plays involving him.

I was merely a horrible accident.  But don't take my word for it:

 

Or you can watch this video from TSN where Bob McKenzie, Aaron Ward, Darren Pang and James Duthie all calling it an accident.

It's called objectivity, try it.

Filed in: | The Confluence | Permalink
 

Comments

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I think he was intending to slew foot him and cut his leg in the process.

Posted by timbits on 02/14/13 at 10:11 AM ET

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I was merely a horrible accident.

Yeah, what a horrible acciden that happened when he was trying to slewfoot Karlsson.

Poor, victimized Matt Cooke, why doesn’t he get pitied for accidentally injuring someone because he failed to execute the dirty play he was trying to make????

Posted by Garth on 02/14/13 at 10:26 AM ET

Tony's avatar

Ridiculous…

Posted by Tony from Virginia Beach, VA on 02/14/13 at 10:37 AM ET

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I’m biased but you can clearly see Cooke and Karlsson engage.  Cooke loses his balance and tries to regain it.  Where is this he intended to slew foot garbage coming from?  Does Cooke have a history of slew foots I’m unaware of?

Posted by pens fan in baltimore on 02/14/13 at 11:29 AM ET

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The worst thing about this is not Matt Cooke but that it seems so preventable. Why are all players not using some form of kevlar cut proof sock? I know Bieksa is using something along these lines after suffering two horrible cuts in back to back seasons.

Posted by vansteve on 02/14/13 at 12:13 PM ET

shanetx's avatar

I have always liked reading your stuff, Tony.  I don’t like the penguins much but for some odd reason enjoyed your blog but, man, I’ve run into less condescendingly defensive parents at peewee games.  It’s Matt Cooke.  He may be the hockey equivalent of Mother Teresa now, but no one is goung to forget his past, nor should they.  He gets the same (none) benefit of the doubt for “plausibly deniable major injury causing questionably dirty hits” thatn Bertuzzi gets for “life threatening on ice attacks” and that’s totally fair from where I sit, so, please, stop with the apologist nonsense and indignation.  It gets you nowhere and makes you look like an unreasonable homer.

  He made a decent play poorly, rode a guy into the boards in an awkward manner that he should not of (even though I think he was only going for the harmless hit) and the discussion afterward is a pretty mild consequence all things considered.

Posted by shanetx from Floydada, Texas on 02/14/13 at 12:30 PM ET

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Does Cooke have a history of slew foots I’m unaware of?

No, he’s got a history of being dirty.

Are you really making the “sure, he’s tried to end careers with his dirty hits, but he would NEVER stoop so low as to try and kick the skate out from under someone” argument?

Posted by Garth on 02/14/13 at 12:42 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Eh, Detroit still has the dirtiest player to ever lace up his skates and that incident happened two lockouts ago without so much as a sniff of the same kind of person who committed the act.

No, Cooke is never going to get treated “fairly”. I still want more than a full season of the kinder, gentler Matt Cooke before he gets his hockey halo and ascends.

The play last night? Just seemed kind of reckless. I know he was losing his balance and that’s why he lifted his foot.  His choices were to lift his foot or give up that specific body position and shift to where he was sealing Karlsson’s right shoulder, but would have had to let him go immediately.

I just don’t like the play he made.  I don’t think it was intentional though.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 02/14/13 at 12:43 PM ET

cigar_nurse's avatar

Unfortunatly Tony,Cooke’s reputation precedes him and the players who get these season ending injuries on his behalf are usually the marquee players on their teams. Guilt by association is hard to wash one’s self clean from after the history and modous op he developed earlier in his career. Just sayin

Posted by cigar_nurse from Greenville South Cakalakee on 02/14/13 at 12:50 PM ET

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Does Cooke have a history of slew foots I’m unaware of?

No, he’s got a history of being dirty.

Are you really making the “sure, he’s tried to end careers with his dirty hits, but he would NEVER stoop so low as to try and kick the skate out from under someone” argument?

Posted by Garth on 02/14/13 at 11:42 AM ET

Thanks Garth.  Always an insightful post from you.  Like I said, I just don’t see how anyone could come to the reasonable conclusion that he was attempting a slew foot.  If it was Malkin, then that may be a reasonable assumption.  Or if was a high hit by Cooke on Karlsson you could assume that he was aiming for the head.  It’s awkward, and yes, Cooke’s history should play into it, but there is just nothing there but an accident.  Same thing with Steckels hit on Crosby at the Winter Classic.  When you watch players along the boards, it’s amazing this doesn’t happen more frequently.  Another inch down and Karlsson would have been fine.  It sucks for him, it sucks for Sens fans, it sucks for NHL fans

Posted by pens fan in baltimore on 02/14/13 at 01:11 PM ET

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Always an insightful post from you.

So I can’t be as insightful as you, pretending that a dirty player with a history of dirty hits could never attempt to make a dirty play.

but there is just nothing there but an accident.

Oh hey, look.  Pens Fan in Baltimore has made his judgement, let nobody disagree!

When you watch players along the boards, it’s amazing this doesn’t happen more frequently.

No it isn’t, because most players keep their skates on the ice.

There is NO REASON for Cooke’s leg to be off the ice and there’s nothing that happens to support any “accidental” nature of it.

Posted by Garth on 02/14/13 at 01:31 PM ET

Tony's avatar

Sorry for the tardy response, since the switch to the new server, I can’t get email notifications for comments for some reason.

To those that disagree, “it’s Matt Cooke” is not a legitimate rationale whether the hit is intentional.

And just pointing out, if you do disagree, your opinion differs from numerous hockey media peope from around the country, not to mention Brandon Shanahan.  So go right ahead, call them apologists too.

And lastly, those talking about the foot coming up, as Aaron Ward pointed out with a couple different examples, the intent is to pin the opponent along the boards.  His words, not mine.

Posted by Tony from Virginia Beach, VA on 02/14/13 at 01:49 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

those talking about the foot coming up, as Aaron Ward pointed out with a couple different examples, the intent is to pin the opponent along the boards.  His words, not mine.

If anything were to come out of this, I think it should be clarified that you may pin your opponent to the boards using your hips, but nothing lower than that.

I just think the chances of this happening, slim as they may be, aren’t worth letting a guy lift his knee that high to pin his opponent. The problem I’m having is that this is insanely difficult for me to define exactly HOW high a guy should get his skate get off the ice. The knee looks like it stops just short of a 90-degree bend, so I don’t think I’d be ok with setting that as the standard.  I just don’t know where exactly the line for “too high” is.  It feels like Cooke is across it here, but I can’t say by how much.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 02/14/13 at 02:01 PM ET

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I think he was intending to slew foot him and cut his leg in the process.

He’s not in position to try to slew foot him. With a slew foot you want to pull the guy’s upper body back while pushing his lower body forward with your leg. Cooke’s pushing Karlsson’s upper body forward. You can’t execute a slewfoot pushing forward on a guy’s upper body.

Posted by larry on 02/14/13 at 04:24 PM ET

Da lil Guy's avatar

Some would suggest that he’s trying to do this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7FVgjA1yQ8k

Posted by Da lil Guy from Guelph, Ontario on 02/14/13 at 07:06 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

I was merely a horrible accident.

Don’t be so hard on yourself Tony, I’m sure your parents were still glad they ended up with you.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 02/14/13 at 08:30 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

Well, just finally watched the hit aaaaand, I have to agree it doesn’t look intentionally dirty to me.  I can absolutely see where others are coming from but to me, I didn’t see any follow through attempting to sweep the skate.  He actually just tries to bring it back down, cutting Eriksson in the process.  To me, he just didn’t want to get burned by last years Norris trophy winner getting away from him.

I hate Matt Cooke.  Like others hate Bert even though I don’t recall a sincere apology from Cooke, just a “Well, I got hit like that by their defenseman the shift before soooo…”

But I don’t think this was him trying to be dirty.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 02/14/13 at 08:41 PM ET

shanetx's avatar

To those that disagree, “it’s Matt Cooke” is not a legitimate rationale whether the hit is intentional.

Oh, good.  I’m sure Ulf Samuelsson will be glad to know deservedly earned reputation doesn’t matter any more.  I wonder if all those goals waived off because of Holmstrom’s reputation will be credited back to the Wings?  You know, they might get a couple more president’s trophies out of the wins that creates.

Snarkiness aside; I don’t take umbrage with the hit from the perspective of did he mean to/did he not.  I don’t think he intended to injure Karlsson.  I tend to give guys the benefit of the doubt.  I don’t think George Laroque was trying to injure Kronwall a few years ago when he hit him knee-on-knee (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZHXsYBXy1Lw).  I don’t think Jamie Benn actually intended to gouge Todd Bertuzzi’s eye out with the point of his stick a few days ago.  The Cooke hit on Karlsson and the two examples I just gave are very bad plays that should not be made.  In each case the player did something dangerous that they should know full well can have extremely bad consequences.  Laroque got beat and acted carelessly.  Benn was lazy dumping the puck in (long shift, first game back) and made no effort to restrict his follow through.  Both of them were careless and someone got hurt as a result.  I feel like this hit is in that category.  Cooke intended to ride Karlsson into the boards and make a solid hockey play.  Unfortunately, he did so in a careless and sloppy manner.  His foot comes up off the ice in a strange manner that looks enough like a kick that the slewfoot theory has some validity, as does the “trying to pin him against the boards with his body” defense.  What you can’t defend is that he made a dangerous play that was not necessary.  Most players don’t try to step on their opponents calves when making that play. Cooke did.  Intent to injure?  I don’t think so.  Poor judgement allowing another player to be seriously injured?  Absolutely.  And while not as bad, that’s still a bad thing that you do not want hockey players to do. 

My theory? Cooke doesn’t consider consequences because he can’t.  I don’t think he “thinks” the game as fast as he plays it.  If he thought things through he wouldn’t have elbowed Ryan McDonagh in the head so soon after the Tyutin suspension.  I think he’s sloppy and careless and Erik Karlsson may never be the same player again because of it and that’s a shame.

All of that said; I have a bigger problem with the Matt Cooke apologists.  No, Tony, Matt Cooke is not guilty until proven innocent but he does have to answer to his past in the same way that every other professional athlete does.  Matt Cooke has been the dirtiest player in the league.  He may no longer be but it isn’t forgotten, nor should it be.  Todd Bertuzzi has to answer for his constantly and it was a far, far more isolated incident (also more premeditated, admittedly).

The worst of this, though, is the self-righteousness with which the Cooke apologists are scolding people who think it was a dirty hit from a notoriously dirty player instead of merely an unfortunately injury-causing hit from a formerly notoriously dirty player.  The condescension is entirely unnecessary and it hurts your credibility.  You can’t really speak from atop Mount Pious when your team has continued to unfailingly employs the likes of Matt Cooke throughout his entire history of dirty play, though they are to be commended for requiring him to reform his game.  Take a cue from them; don’t condescend to us for remembering he’s a dirty POS, acknowledge it, present a rational argument that this isn’t a return to form and turn the other cheek.

Posted by shanetx from Floydada, Texas on 02/14/13 at 08:41 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

Also agree with how thick this blog was laid on today.  Could’ve made a case without making the reader NOT want to agree with you simply because of the tone it takes if you even consider the other side.  Even Master Chief calls a spade a spade.  If someone on the Wings makes a dirty hit, Wings fans get just as peaved as the other teams.  Like Abby throwing bows around in the playoffs 2 years ago.  He caught hell.  No room for career ending dirtiness.  I don’t mind the hacks and whacks but elbows the head, come on.  I’m REALLY surprised Savard hasn’t started litigation against Cooke since in violation of league rules, he ended his career.  That might actually be the catalyst the makes players quick trying to end eachother.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 02/14/13 at 08:46 PM ET

shanetx's avatar

I’m REALLY surprised Savard hasn’t started litigation against Cooke since in violation of league rules, he ended his career. 

It actually wasn’t illegal at the time.  At least not according to Bettman.  From Wikipedia…  “I was very unhappy and upset with that hit,” said Bettman. “I was more upset there was nothing (in the League rules) to do to punish it.”

Posted by shanetx from Floydada, Texas on 02/14/13 at 09:14 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

Good point Shane

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 02/14/13 at 09:24 PM ET

Tony's avatar

Don’t be so hard on yourself Tony, I’m sure your parents were still glad they ended up with you.

Now was that necessary?

Posted by Tony from Virginia Beach, VA on 02/14/13 at 09:30 PM ET

Tony's avatar

Wow.

Two veterans of the main Wings blog on THIS website throwing around words like “self-righteousness” and “condescension” and complaining about MY tone?

You guys have got a lot of frickin’ nerve.  You guys have WROTE THE BOOK on “self-righteousness” and “condescension” there.

You don’t like what I write, too bad.  I could care less.

Posted by Tony from Virginia Beach, VA on 02/14/13 at 09:41 PM ET

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That’s just plain awesome Tony.

Posted by pens fan in baltimore on 02/14/13 at 10:49 PM ET

shanetx's avatar

Ah.  I post most frequently on A2Y, sure, but as I started my first post in this thread with; I am a reader of your blog as well… but I’m sure you “could care less” about that.

I gave what I felt was honest well-intended feedback after giving views on the hit and debate in question… but that obviously doesn’t interest you.  Oh well.  I suppose TPSH should’ve trained me for this.

Posted by shanetx from Floydada, Texas on 02/14/13 at 11:24 PM ET

Tony's avatar

Ah.  I post most frequently on A2Y, sure, but as I started my first post in this thread with; I am a reader of your blog as well… but I’m sure you “could care less” about that.

I gave what I felt was honest well-intended feedback after giving views on the hit and debate in question… but that obviously doesn’t interest you.  Oh well.  I suppose TPSH should’ve trained me for this.

And I gave my views on what I feel is an unfair accusation toward Cooke.  A view that is share by the vast majority of the mainstream hockey media, by the way…..

But yet, you don’t agree with that, and moreover throw around terms like “self-righteousness” and “condescension” about my post.

I see the A2Y double standard hasn’t missed a beat…..

Posted by Tony from Virginia Beach, VA on 02/14/13 at 11:55 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

I see the A2Y double standard hasn’t missed a beat…..

Write like Chief writes and you’ll get the same standard. For instance, I’ve never seen the Chief whine about how people who are predisposed to disliking the Red Wings should “try objectivity” from such a soapbox and then devolve that in the comments into a “you’re basically all indistinguishable” tantrum.

You’ve lost the entire point of his screed because you’re not being objective, you’re subjectively waggling objectivity in other people’s faces because it just so happens to back your boy in this instance.

Then, when given ample opportunity to actually discuss portions of the event in question objectively, you instead focus on being called out (rightly) for this behavior by childishly dismissing any criticism because it comes from somebody who has ever commented at a blog which operates completely differently from the way you do.

That’s too bad, because I usually do like what you write. Oh well. I wrote this to get it off my chest. I could care less whether or not you like it because it’s my objective take on the situation.

Maybe you should try that.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 02/15/13 at 10:13 AM ET

mrfluffy's avatar

Thin skin and glass houses.

But I’m not an eloquent pharmacist…your mileage may vary.

Posted by mrfluffy from Long Beach on 02/15/13 at 11:48 AM ET

shanetx's avatar

That’s too bad, because I usually do like what you write. Oh well. I wrote this to get it off my chest. I could care less whether or not you like it because it’s my objective take on the situation.

J.J. put it much better than I was able. I certainly wouldn’t dream of chiding the Pensblog dudes.  I guess I had a silly higher standard for you.

And for what it’s worth; I actually did agree with you (and media outlet) takes on Cooke (he had no intent to injure).

Posted by shanetx from Floydada, Texas on 02/15/13 at 11:11 PM ET

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Welcome to The Confluence, a Pittsburgh Penguins blog since 2006.

Originally at Blogspot, then at MVN, TheConfluence has over 1500 articles reporting Penguins news as well as jumping on my soapbox to opine constructive Penguins criticism.

I am blogger- credentialed with the Pittsburgh Penguins.  My posts are regularly linked by hockey websites such as the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh Tribune Review, Yahoo!‘s Puck Daddy, and I’ve done numerous guest blogger spots on such websites asthe New YorkTimes.  I am a retired U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer.

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