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Penguins' Matt Cooke Knocked Out by Thrashers' Evander Kane and Karma

ATLANTA - APRIL 10:  Matt Cooke #24 of the Pittsburgh Penguins is knocked out by this right-handed punch from Evander Kane #9 of the Atlanta Thrashers at Philips Arena on April 10, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Matthew HoganAnalyst IApril 11, 2010

Pittsburgh Penguins’ forward Matt Cooke is most well-known for his questionable and often irresponsible hits, but on Saturday night against the Atlanta Thrashers, karma finally dealt Cooke the hardest hit of his career.

Of all players to deliver Cooke the blow, it was rookie Evander Kane with a right hook 1:59 into the second period of Atlanta’s 1-0 win.

“He challenged me and asked me to fight, and I was not going to back down,” Kane told the Associated Press after the win. “It’s part of the game.”

The Penguins had challenged Kane several times after he had hit Pittsburgh star forward Sidney Crosby into the boards twice in the first period, but ultimately it was Cooke who got the worst of it.

“Cooke came at an 18-year-old,” Atlanta head coach John Anderson told the Associated Press after the game. “What goes around, comes around. That’s all I can tell you.”

What goes around, comes around, indeed.

Cooke has been labeled as one of the league’s premier “dirty” players. His hits have been considered reckless due to the number of injuries they have caused, and also due to the fact that many of them have been hits to the head.

In the 2007-08 season, Cooke’s hits were the cause of three separate concussions. Daymond Langkow, Petteri Nummelin, and James Wisniewski all fell victim to Cooke’s hits in the '08 campaign.

Last season, Cooke received a two-game suspension for a hit to the head of Carolina Hurricanes’ Scott Walker.

This season has been no different for Cooke.

Back in November, Cooke received another two-game suspension for a hit to the head of New York RangersArtem Anisimov.

Cooke’s worst hit to date came this season on Boston Bruins’ superstar Marc Savard.

Savard was diagnosed with a grade 2 concussion and there is no timetable for his return. Cooke, on the other hand, was not suspended for the hit.

“I don’t know what to say. Of course we thought he would be suspended,” Bruins’ forward Steve Begin told the Boston Herald after the decision, or lack thereof.

“We thought the league would take care of it. They’ve been talking about shots to the head for a while and now they have a perfect example, and they don’t do anything about it.”

But after tonight, it would appear that Cooke has finally gotten a taste of his own medicine.

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