NHL: TIME TO CRACK DOWN ON CHEAP-SHOT ARTISTS

Robert Lafleur February 17, 2013 10
Courtesy of Icon SMI

Rule 21.1 Match Penalty – A match penalty shall be imposed on any player who deliberately attempts to injure or who deliberately injures an opponent in any manner.

Rule 48.5 Match Penalty – The Referee, at his discretion, may assess a match penalty, if, in his judgment, the player attempted to, or deliberately injured his opponent with an illegal check to the head. If deemed appropriate, supplementary discipline can be applied by the Commissioner at his discretion.

Back To His Old Self

Matt Cooke has done it again. Another player injured, another career possibly over.  Brendan Shanahan and most of the so-called hockey experts are calling this a clean hit gone terribly wrong, a freak accident. No further action necessary. I don’t. I can’t give Matt Cooke the benefit of the doubt on this one. Matt Cooke knew it was Erik Karlsson. Matt Cooke has driven Erik Karlsson’s head into the glass before. This, to me, looked like a failed attempt at a slew-foot on Karlsson. Did Matt Cooke deliberately attempt to drive his skate down through Erik Karlssons’s leg and slice his Achilles tendon? That thought is too evil to contemplate. Did Matt Cooke try to check Erik Karlsson, knock him off balance and take his legs out from under him? Only Matt Cooke knows for sure. But Matt Cooke has shown, time after time in his career, a propensity to inflict injury on other players. Predatory, blindside hits, cheap-shots, elbows to heads, shoulder to heads, knee on knee hits, crosschecks from behind, hits from behind, kicking players, driving players heads into the boards or glass, slewfoots into the boards. This is not a player playing on the edge, this is a player targeting other players in vulnerable positions “attempting to injure.” So Matt Cooke has done it again. Regardless of the technical reason how it happened, it happened and Matt Cooke’s reckless play was the reason. And for that reason, a suspension was warranted, but none given. The NHL, and Brendan Shanahan in particular, have shirked their duty. They have shown that they lack the courage to do the right thing and crack down on plays, and players, like this. This can only result in more and more, unnecessary and needless injuries in the future, injuries that the NHL can ill afford to have if they really want to grow into the game it can, and should, be.

For now, a twenty-two year young man, a rising superstar, has got to put his faith in the skilled hands of Dr. Don Chow, the Sens team surgeon. Hands, that he hopes, can put his sliced Achilles tendon, one of the worst injuries an athlete can suffer, back together again.

The Legacy of Matt Cooke

2007 – James Wisniewski – elbow to head into glass – concussion

2007 – Daymond Langkow – hit from behind into glass – concussion

2008 – Mathieu Roy – hit from behind drivingRoy’s head into the glass

2008 – Kurtis Foster – slew-foot into boards

2008 – Zach Parise – blindside hit driving Parise into open bench door

2008 – Mathew Lombardi – shoulder to head

2008 – Vincent Lecavalier – blindside hit, dislocating Lecavalier’s shoulder

2009 – Scott Walker – shoulder to head from behind, 2 game suspension

2009 – Ilya Kovalchuk – blindside check from behind

2009 – Zach Begosian – knee on knee

2009 – Duncan Keith – elbow to head from behind

2009 – Zenon Konopka – knee on knee

2009 – Erik Cole – knee on knee

2009 – Chris Osgood – kicked Osgood in the head

2009 – Shean Donovan – knee on knee, torn ACL, effectively ending Donovan’s career

2009 – Artem Anisimov – elbow to head – 2 game suspension

2009 – Peter Bondra – knee on knee

2010 – John Tavares – knee on knee

2010 – Andrei Markov – cross-check to back from behind into boards

2010 – Mats Sundin – knee on knee

2010 – Rick DiPietro – running goalie three times in one game

2010 – Erik Karlsson – blindside hit to head, driving head into boards

2010 – Keith Yandle – elbow to head

2010 – Marc Savard – blindside elbow to head ending Marc Savard’s career

2010 – Evander Kane – elbow to head

2010 – Andrei Markov – checked into boards, reconstructive knee surgery

2011 – Jordan Leopold – cross check to back

2011 – Steve Montador – sucker punch to head

2011 – Jason Williams – knee on knee

2011 – Garnet Exelby – slew-foot into boards

2011 – Alexander Ovechkin – knee on knee

2011 – Fedor Tyutin – hit from behind into the boards, 4 game suspension

2011 – Ryan McDonagh – elbow to head, 10 game suspension + first round of playoffs

2013 – Erik Karlsson – sliced Achilles tendon