Nowhere were the emotions more tense, it would appear, than in the booth with NESN’s Jack Edwards. The color commentary man went on an angry tangent early in the game, comparing the Penguins’ Matt Cooke to Sirhan Sirhan, the man who assassinated Robert Kennedy.
Edwards’ tear was based on the decision made by members of the Pittsburgh press to nominate Cooke for the Masterton Trophy in 2012. The play-by-play man cited Cooke’s blindside hit on Boston’s Marc Savard in 2010, a shoulder-to-head blow on open ice that knocked the Bruins centerman unconscious.
“Could not help but noticing last season when the Pittsburgh writers nominated Matt Cooke for the Masterton Award...the justification being how Cooke had changed his ways, after basically assassinating Marc Savard,” Edwards said early in the first period. “Nominating Cooke for the Masterton is about the equivalent of nominating Sirhan Sirhan for ‘Prisoner of the Year.’”
Edwards might have a point about the whole “unsporting” nature of Cooke, but likening him to the killer who gunned down RFK is clearly over the top, especially in the light of the recent loss of life and disaster that has taken place in the city of Boston.
Edwards realized he had perhaps gone over the top with his words and apologized to viewers on-air and after the game via Twitter.
I made a mistake.My fault all the way.This is my apology.Bad week, bad emotional reaction by me.— Jack Edwards (@RealJackEdwards) April 20, 2013
Bad week, bad emotional reaction by me.— Jack Edwards (@RealJackEdwards) April 20, 2013
Not fun to make a mistake.I made a mistake.I am sorry for it.I can move forward if you can.— Jack Edwards (@RealJackEdwards) April 20, 2013
To be clear, the Masterton Trophy is awarded every year to the player who “best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.”
While Cooke might exemplify perseverance and dedication, the people of Boston obviously have plenty of reason to remain incredulous as to how the “sportsmanship” part was judged by the Pittsburgh press.
On the other hand, Edwards’ passion got the best of him in this situation, and with everyone walking on pins and needles in the aftermath of the tragedy in Boston, it might be best to steer clear of murder comparisons while broadcasting sports.
On Twitter: Dr__Carson