February 08, 2011
(UPDATE: As first reported Nick Kypreos of Sportsnet, a 4-game suspension for Cooke.)
In his first game after "clipping skates" with Alex Ovechkin(notes) of the Washington Capitals on Sunday, Matt Cooke(notes) of the Pittsburgh Penguins once again dominated hockey fan chatter on Tuesday night for his 5-minute charging major on Fedor Tyutin(notes) of the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Here's the hit that made him a worldwide trending topic on Twitter:
The Blue Jackets won the game, 4-1.
Any debate about whether Tyutin "saw" Cooke is immaterial; Cooke hit him with a leaping check between the numbers on his back, into the glass, with plenty of time to slow it up. That he escaped a game misconduct, only receiving five for charging and five for the ensuing fight with Derick Brassard(notes), is as miraculous as the fact that Tyutin escaped injury.
Then again, the fact that Tyutin wasn't injured is likely the reason Cooke remained in the game, as is the NHL's regrettable protocol.
Cooke has a history of borderline hits - including one Sunday on Alex Ovechkin- and this added to the dubious collection. He was assessed a five-minute charging penalty. Multiple reports state Cooke will have a supplemental discipline hearing by phone Thursday.
The fact that Tyutin was able to finish the game might help Cooke's case. The Jackets defenseman glanced over his shoulder before playing the puck behind his net.
"It was the worst hit I've ever had from behind," said Tyutin, who had an ice pack on his shoulder. "I wasn't surprised, not when you see (Cooke) in the highlights all the time for dirty hits."
Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said that Tyutin looked Cooke "right in the eyes" and knew the hit was coming.
Again: No injury. Based on its history, the NHL's going to weigh that heavily.