April 21, 2013

Boston Bruins announcer Jack Edwards equates Matt Cooke with Sirhan Sirhan: Jack Edwards states that Matt Cooke basically assassinated Marc Savard, also that...nominating Cooke for the Masterton Trophy last season was equal to "nominating Sirhan Sirhan as the prisoner of the year."

posted by tommytrump to hockey at 08:27 PM - 11 comments

Edwards tends to be just a tiny bit over the top, but underneath he's just the announcing equivalent of a ticking time bomb. He's not for everyone, but he can be a lot of fun to listen to. I don't have any idea what Sirhan Sirhan's behavior might be in prison. If his conduct is that of a model prisoner, then he could very well be the prisoner of the year. I believe Edwards has very little of the quality of forgiveness when it comes to players who have a continuing history of causing injury. Cooke at best is a second- or even third-rate player, hardly the equivalent of a Marc Savard. In that respect, I agree with Edwards that Cooke does not deserve recognition for coming back from injury.

Perhaps the NHL needs to institute a rule that any, I say again ANY, contact above the shoulders, intentional or unintentional, with stick, elbow, shoulder, or whatever, including driving a player's head into the glass, boards or ice, should be penalized. Maybe an exception could be made for 2 willing fighters with the gloves off, but not otherwise. It can be a minor penalty, as it is now, with the extra 2, or maybe a major, tacked on for blood. The major/game misconduct for the violent hits from behind or with the elbows should continue. The difference will be in the tracking of such penalties. First one: just the minor or major as appropriate; second one in a season: add a small fine; third time: 1 game suspension and a moderate fine; fourth offense: 2 game suspension and large fine. Once you go beyond 4, the suspensions get longer, the fines bigger, and once sufficient offenses have piled up, make the suspension for a full season. In other words, get the head hunters out of the game. Most of them have sufficient skills that they can contribute something to an NHL roster, and failing that can keep a job in the AHL, but there are too many "goons", the best part of whose game is trying to eliminate the opposition's top players. I don't want to blame the helmet rule for the increase in head injuries, but I just don't remember so many happening "back in the day". There are probably a lot of factors, speed of the game, a larger number of teams leading to a dilution of highly skilled players on each team, increased awareness of the symptoms and effects of head injuries, and so on. Hockey has to do something about the head injuries, and while the idea of an outright ban on contact above the shoulders might be rather draconian, maybe it's the only way to go.

posted by Howard_T at 09:38 PM on April 21

I believe the connection to Sirhan Sirhan is "evil," as in Matt Cooke is an "evil" player. His reference, however, is to the nomination; I guess if he had said "Matt Cooke is like Sirhan Sirhan or Charles Manson (direct connection)," all hell would have broken loose.

posted by jjzucal at 10:26 PM on April 21

I get where he was trying to go, but he was totally stupid about building his analogy.

Cooke getting nominated is a farce - the guy was likely one dirty hit away from at least a year away from the game - or a lifetime ban if the NHL was really worried about its image. He saw the writing on the wall.

So I don't really applaud Cooke for changing his game - it was a product of survival. Sean Avery didn't evolve and he disappeared. Cooke was always an effective hockey player and 19 goals is not so far out of his existing production (he scored 15 twice and his team is stacked with offensive talent) that I see anything other than the occasional nasty hit has changed. He's still an effective hustle guy.

Ron Harris, who by all accounts hit Bill Masterton cleanly, 35 years later was still haunted by it. I haven't seen Cooke interviewed much lately, but I wonder how he feels about the Savard hit today - he didn't kill him, but by all accounts his whole life is different. It would've been nice (and maybe it happened but I didn't see it) to have seen a mea culpa not only from him, but from the NHL for their failure to protect Savard, before he got the inspirational NHL award.

posted by dfleming at 02:14 PM on April 22

If Cooke wasn't in the NHL he'd be incarcerated. The guy has something innate that drives him to want to injure people. I give him a small bit of credit for partially cleaning up his game, but without players like him we would have had a full year of Eric Karlsson .. and more a than few years of Savard.

posted by cixelsyd at 11:40 PM on April 22

but without players like him we would have had a full year of Eric Karlsson

Karlsson's injury was an accident, plain and simple. While it's unfortunate that it was Cooke that caused it, and not, say, Evgeni Malkin, you can't say it's because of "players like [Cooke]". Sometimes, bad things just happen...

posted by MeatSaber at 12:36 AM on April 23

Karlsson's injury was an accident, plain and simple.

Yeah...I'm not so sure about that.

As a Leaf fan, you won't find me showing support for our sad little brothers in Kanata, but even I looked at Cooke's actions during that injury and thought "That wasn't a normal hit."

posted by grum@work at 08:12 AM on April 23

You really think the Karlssson injury was done with intent?? Really. I get the Savard hit was dirty. That was 3 years ago. Should He be up for this award? No. Should be be compared to a Killer? No

posted by Debo270 at 09:26 AM on April 23

Cooke just confronted an Ottawa Sun reporter who suggested it was intentional.

posted by yerfatma at 12:37 PM on April 23

You really think the Karlsson injury was done with intent??

Yes. Watch the video and draw your own conclusions.

posted by cixelsyd at 10:03 PM on April 23

Yes. Watch the video and draw your own conclusions.

I [posted the video, so I guess we will have to agree to disagree.

Also I would like to thank the Sens for spending the night in the sin bin. Cooke drew several penalties baiting them all night. Well played.

posted by Debo270 at 02:09 PM on April 24

You really think the Karlsson injury was done with intent??

Probably not the slicing of the Achilles tendon, but the downward kick was probably meant to inflict pain. Simply put, Cooke is something of a menace because he does not think about the possible consequences of his actions. It's sort of a hit first and "oops, I didn't really mean to injure him" later. Maybe he doesn't really intend to injure, but his carelessness makes the likelihood of injury much greater.

posted by Howard_T at 04:47 PM on April 24

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