March 18, 2010
After a week and a half of build up to what, in some corners, was expected to be an alternate main event at Wrestlemania, "Matt Cooke Retribution Night" in Boston did not live up to the pre-game hype that some were expecting. Those looking for Cooke's blood to be shed on TD Garden ice left the game sorely disappointed about three things. First, the game ending with 3-0 Pittsburgh victory. Second, a listless Bruins performance with just 17 shots on Marc-Andre Fleury(notes) and Bruins fans booing the team off the ice at the end of the game. Finally, that Cooke will be leaving Boston without any scars or broken bones and vivid memories of the Pittsburgh win. The only punishment Cooke faced was this fight with Shawn Thornton(notes) 1:58 into the game:
(Ron Borges of the Boston Herald also probably left the arena disappointed that no Bruin made Crosby bleed his own blood. /Nelson Muntz'd)
Thornton would get a 10-minute misconduct penalty for the extra punches and breaking Rule 47.5 that states a player must stop fighting once ordered by a referee or linesman to do so.
Did the presence of NHL VP and disciplinarian Colin Campbell and director of officials Terry Gregson have any effect on the lack of an all-out attack on Cooke? Probably not. In the wake of the recent slew of controversial hits, chances are that any stupidity tonight would have resulted in a multiple-game suspension, no matter the offender. One could say that the eight-game ban given to Anaheim Ducks defenseman James Wisniewski(notes) just hours before the Bruins-Penguins game was a hint.
More importantly for the Bruins, they missed out on an important opportunity to add to their three-point lead over the New York Rangers for the final spot in the Eastern Conference playoff picture. They'll get that opportunity in a Sunday matinee against the Rangers at home.