NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins' Matt Cooke Really Screwed It Up This Time

Mike ShannonFeatured ColumnistMarch 21, 2011

NEWARK, NJ - MARCH 04:  Matt Cooke #24 of the Pittsburgh Penguins skates against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on March 4, 2011 in Newark, New Jersey. The Devils defeated the Penguins 2-1 in overtime.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Boy, Matt Cooke has some really bad timing, doesn't he? 

Sure, the Penguins lost 5-2 to the Rangers on Sunday, but the real story is Matt Cooke delivering a flying elbow to Ryan McDonagh and sending the anti-Penguins blogosphere into an absolute tizzy.

Cooke is most definitely going to be suspended and he absolutely deserves it.

It's probably going to be for the rest of the regular season and into the playoffs, which is not good times if you are a Penguins fan. 

I am not going to be the one who piles onto Cooke and calls him a dirty player, a disgrace to the game, blah, blah, blah. It was a cheap shot, it was unnecessary and it could have really injured McDonagh. 

So suspend him—what more is there to say? 

Suspensions were put into place so that players would be punished for their misdeeds on the ice and to deter them from doing it again.

Will it stop there? Of course not.

There are already calls for Cooke to be thrown out of hockey, a notion so ridiculous that anyone who writes it should be beaten with metal objects. There are also cries from the mob to suspend Cooke into next year, which would be a longer suspension than Trevor Gillies received for his assault on Eric Tangradi earlier this year.

You know, if the NHL adopted Mario Lemieux's plan of action that he sent to Gary Bettman last week, the Penguins organization itself would be fined right now. 

Did Bettman listen to that idea? Of course not. 

What would possibly the greatest player in league history know about hockey? Leave that stuff to Brian Burke and his years of failure.

But I digress—the bottom line is Matt Cooke is Matt Cooke. He is not a complete and total goon like Jody Shelly or Trevor Gillies because Cooke can score goals and create offense when he wants to. 

Cooke is not a Crosby, Malkin or even a Staal and he plays over the line far too much for my liking.

Cooke is dirty player who deserves suspended and that should be the end of it but, of course, it won't be.

Cooke will be crucified by Don Cherry's suit, he will be ripped into by any "real hockey fan" with a keyboard and the anti-Penguin crusaders will complain and whine about the suspension no matter how long it is.

So suspend Cooke, do it quickly and make it harsh but remember one thing: The NHL created this monster. Matt Cooke is a product of the direction the league is taking and no one wants to hear that. 

There is too much violence in the game of hockey right now. Players get a slap on the wrist unless you're a "repeat offender" and cheap shots are viewed as "old-time hockey" by the great unwashed.

Last week, the NHL Board of Governors refused to adopt a no-headshot policy that would have eliminated this crap from the game once and for all. All the Canadian-minded cretins in the NHL league office thought that would "wussify" the game and take hitting out of it.

Hey, morons, the best player in the world has been out for months with a concussion, Zdeno Chara almost killed someone and Trevor Gillies is a one man crime spree anytime he steps on the ice.

Is Matt Cooke at fault? Absolutely. He deserves whatever comes to him. 

However, don't let the league skate by on this one—they need to share some of the blame and get it fixed now.