The NHL has suspended the Penguins' Matt Cooke for the remaining 10 games of the regular season and for the first round of the playoffs, the Post-Gazette reports, after hitting the Rangers' Ryan McDonagh in the head with a flying elbow yesterday.â†µ
"Mr. Cooke, a repeat offender, directly and unnecessarily targeted the head of an opponent who was in an unsuspecting and vulnerable position," said NHL discipline official Colin Campbell. "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."â†µ
The Penguins, who have taken a strong organizational stance against blows to the head, issued a statement supporting the suspension.â†µ
"The suspension is warranted because that's exactly the kind of hit we're trying to get out of the game," general manager Ray Shero said. "Head shots have no place in hockey."â†µ
I can't really argue with any of that. Cooke's hit was vicious, and if the Penguins are serious about wanting these head hits to stop, they need to be taking a no-tolerance approach when their own player does it, or at least not complaining when the NHL hands down a stiff sentence.â†µ
Our own Jimmy Rixner argues that merely accepting the sentence may not go far enough, however.