Saturday, March 13, 2010

No Place For It in the NHL

It seems that Marc Savard may be out for the rest of the season after the concussion he sustained after a cheap shot to the head by the goon Matt Cooke. Lets just hope his career isn't over along with the season. If you haven't already seen the video below then you should.

Forget what anybody says about this and the other hits by Cooke. Forget that his own teammate basically called him out on it. The video speaks for itself. Two things are abundantly clear: (1) these hits by Cooke are no accident, and (2) the striking similarity between the Savard hit and the two previous hits, for which Cooke was suspended, make the decision by Campbell not to suspend Cooke again indefensible, at least on its face.

Either Campbell is a complete idiot, as a lot of people are assuming, or he is playing politics. A new rule against hits to the head by the shoulder is not a forgone conclusion. It has to be okay'd by the nebulous competition committee which apparently only meets in the summer, when much of this will be forgotten. It may well be that Campbell, in stating that he would not suspend Cooke because there was no clear rule against the hit, is using this as a means to pressure the committee into surely adopting a new rule. If so, this could be a good thing in the long run.

Now as for Cooke, I keep hearing the same phrase over and over from players and management alike. They all say, "there is no place for that in the NHL." People are blaming the NHL for not enacting a rule against this sort of hit sooner. They are blaming Campbell for not suspending Cooke. But I think both are off the mark. The bulk of the blame rests squarely on the shoulders of the Pittsburgh Penguins management. As GM's around the league fear that their own scoring superstar may be the next target of such a hit, who has the most at stake? The Pittsburgh Penguins and Sydney Crosby. So why does it take a suspension from the NHL to stop this guy? Hell, after all he's been suspended for this same thing before and he keeps right on doing it. Why should the Pittsburgh management be allowed to pretend they have no control over their own players? If there is no place for this in the NHL, then there is no place in the NHL for Matt Cooke. It's time the people who are really in charge--the Pittsburgh management--took the responsibility to do something about it.

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