The Penguins can expect to be without the services Matt Cooke for the foreseeable future. Cooke earned a 5-minute major and a game misconduct for elbowing New York’s Ryan McDonagh early in the third period of Sunday’s game.
Cooke, coming off a 4-game suspension just last month, will probably receive a lengthy ban from league. Not only is he a repeat offender, the hit soon to be reviewed was brutal. The veteran winger blatantly extended his elbow to make contact with McDonagh’s head. Bottom line, it was a dirty play. When you also take into consideration the league’s crackdown on hits to the head, this doesn’t bode well for Cooke. Should the powers that be decide to make an example out of him, Cooke could conceivably get 10 games. The only – and I do mean only – thing going for him here is the fact McDonagh wasn’t hurt on the play.
There will be some significant fallout from this incident. Cooke, whose tainted reputation suffers another blow, will have another suspension tacked on to his already lengthy rap sheet. Meanwhile, critics of Mario Lemieux’s response to the debacle on Long Island are going to have a field day. Those who screamed “But you employ Matt Cooke!” from the rooftops can now gleefully say, “I told you so!” The Penguins organization has been vocal about penalizing head shots (just like this one) swiftly and harshly. Let’s see how they respond to the league’s disciplinary ruling.