March 10, 2010
Boston Bruins announcer Jack Edwards threw a fit on Tuesday over the NHL's delay in doling out discipline to Pittsburgh Penguins winger Matt Cooke(notes) for his hit on Marc Savard(notes). But now that the League has announced there'll be no suspension for the blindside hit that may have ended Savard's season, we all know why they implemented stall tactics.
On Wednesday morning, hours before the announcement, the NHL's GMs made Cookie's hit illegal and suspension-worthy ... starting next season (and pending further approval). The NHL can claim consistency in not having taken any action against Mike Richards(notes) for his blindside hit against David Booth(notes) or on this Cooke hit, while promising fans that the loophole has been closed and these stretcher-ride head-checks are being legislated out the games.
You know ... next season.
NHL VP Colin Campbell tipped his hand on Cooke when discussing the hit on Fan 590 in Toronto, vehemently claiming no elbow was involved and that it was "shoulder-to-head" contact. He wasn't framing the following his as a cheap shot, and clearly the NHL's ruling is in sync with that belief:
We disagreed at the time of the hit, and disagree now. The hit came after Savard had fired the puck on net and there was intent to injure on the part of Cooke, who doesn't get the benefit of the doubt as a repeat offender. Again: Richards hit Booth after Booth made a backhand pass while skating at Richards; Cooke hit Savard after Savard shot the puck.
Cooke earned himself another suspension in our eyes, but obviously not those of the NHL. The situation will be rectified in 2010-11, but try telling that to Marc Savard. No, seriously, try to: He'll nod off in the middle of the word "rectified" thanks to Cooke.