NHL: Evander Kane Knocks Out Matt Cooke with One Punch

Warren ShawCorrespondent IIApril 11, 2010

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

Evander Kane has had quite a rookie season. He was the No. 1 draft choice of the Atlanta Thrashers, he gained a spot in the lineup as a first year player, and he even scored 14 goals despite missing games due to injury.

Kane was drafted by the Thrashers just as much for his character as his talent. In junior hockey Kane was the captain of his team and displayed great leadership ability. Despite his relatively young age, he never backed down from a confrontation and participated in several battles on the ice.

In the NHL players made runs at Kane during the season, but his teammates were there to make sure the young Vancouver native was looked after.  

Things changed during the Thrashers last game of the season at Phillips arena.

Evander Kane knocked Pittsburgh Penguin Matt Cooke out cold. Kane landed a right in Cooke’s face that sent him to the ice, where he remained until Pittsburgh medical staff arrived.

When Cooke is on the ice there is always controversy. He is often responsible for open ice hits that have left his targets dazed.

Cooke was the Penguin responsible for a blind side hit that sidelined star forward and former Thrasher Marc Savard of the Boston Bruin’s.

Cooke did not allow himself to be carried off the ice on a stretcher, instead skating off under his own power to the player’s locker room.

The Thrashers played their best game of the season, shutting out the Penguins 1-0. Kane was a key contributor in the effort, creating numerous scoring chances for himself and his teammates.

The Thrashers ended the season on a strong note, despite missing the playoffs, and Evander Kane let his team know he can provide a punch in more ways than one.