As a result of throwing an elbow into the head of an unsuspecting Ryan McDonagh yesterday afternoon, the NHL has suspended the Pittsburgh Penguins' Matt Cooke for the rest of the regular season and the entire first round of the NHL playoffs. Cooke will also forfeit $219, 512.20 in salary
This is undoubtedly a harsh punishment, but with Cooke's total disregard for the NHL law, the NHL and Colin Campbell laid down its proverbial foot this evening -- and should be commended for taking such action. This is the second time Cooke has been suspended this season (making him a repeat offender) -- and the fifth time in his NHL career. It was Cooke's blindside hit on Marc Savard a year ago that limited him to 41 games last year with a severe concussion and just 25 this year after second one. This link documents Cooke's previous suspensions.
Campbell had this to say regarding the NHL's punishment:
"Mr. Cooke, a repeat offender, directly & unnecessarily targeted head of an opponent in an unsuspecting and vulnerable position and his conduct requires an appropriately harsh response, Campbell said in a statement."This isn't the first time this season that we have had to address dangerous behavior on the ice by Mr. Cooke, and his conduct requires an appropriately harsh response."
Click after the jump to see the video of Cooke's hit on McDonagh and the statement from Penguins' GM, Ray Shero.
"The suspension is warranted because that’s exactly the kind of hit we’re trying to get out of the game. Head shots have no place in hockey. We’ve told Matt in no uncertain terms that this kind of action on the ice is unacceptable and cannot happen. Head shots must be dealt with severely, and the Pittsburgh Penguins support the NHL in sending this very strong message."