Matt Cooke: Ranking the Worst Hits from the Pittsburgh Penguins Forward
On Sunday, during the NBC Game of the Week broadcast of the Pittsburgh Penguins vs. New York Rangers matchup, Penguins' forward Matt Cooke delivered an elbow to the head of Rangers' Ryan McDonagh.
McDonagh was not injured on the play. However, the NHL has seen elbows to the head and subsequently suspended the San Jose Sharks Dan Heatley, Boston Bruins' Brad Marchand and Tampa Bay Lightning Pavel Kubina.
Cooke faces NHL discipline and a suspension seems imminent considering the aforementioned recent suspensions on a similar play, as well as Cooke's track record in the league.
Since Cooke is no stranger to bad hits, where does this one rank in relation to the others?
Here are Cooke's worst hits.
8. Matt Cooke Elbows New York Rangers' Ryan McDonagh
In Sunday's game, Matt Cooke elbowed New York Rangers' Ryan McDonagh in the head.
Cooke is facing NHL discipline following that hit to the head. The league has been trying to eliminate these type of hits, since they are dangerous and risk injury.
7. Matt Cooke Knees Washington Capitals' Alex Ovechkin
The rivalry between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals has always been heated.
On February 6th of this year, during another Caps vs. Pens matchup, Cooke delivered a hard, knee-on-knee hit that sent Alex Ovechkin flying.
Ovechkin was fine, but a little annoyed after that hit.
6. Matt Cooke Crosschecks Montreal Canadiens' Andrei Markov
During a Montreal Canadiens' vs. Pittsburgh Penguins matchup on February 6th, 2010, Matt Cooke delivered a crosscheck to Andrei Markov.
The hit kept Markov face down on the ice for quite awhile.
5. Matt Cooke Elbows Keith Yandle in the Head
Sunday wasn't Matt Cooke's first elbow to the head of another player.
On December 21st, 2010, in a game against the Phoenix Coyotes, Cooke delivered an elbow to the head of Keith Yandle.
He was not suspended for that hit.
4. Matt Cooke Elbows New York Rangers' Artem Anisimov in the Head
Sunday's elbow on Ryan McDonagh wasn't even Matt Cooke's first elbow against a New York Ranger.
In November 2009, Cooke was suspended two games for an elbow to the head of Anisimov.
3. Matt Cooke Hits Columbus Blue Jackets' Fedor Tyutin into the Boards
On February 8th 2011, Matt Cooke sent an unsuspecting Fedor Tyutin into the boards after hitting him from behind.
Cooke was assessed a four-game suspension for the hit.
2. Matt Cooke's Unsuspecting Hit on Ottawa Senators' Erik Karlsson
The Ottawa Senators visited the Pittsburgh Penguins on November 26th, 2010.
Senators' Erik Karlsson was tied up with Penguins' Max Talbot. Then, out of nowhere, Matt Cooke collided with Karlsson.
The hit sent Karlsson to the ground.
1. Matt Cooke's Shoulder Hit on Boston Bruins' Marc Savard
Perhaps the most controversial hit in Matt Cooke's repertoire is this hit on Marc Savard.
Savard missed a couple months with a Grade II concussion. Cooke was not suspended for the hit, infuriating many across the league.
The Cooke hit was a contributing factor to Savard's unknown status after suffering another concussion, less than a year after the Cooke one.