Thursday, March 11, 2010

Off the Hook! (Well, Not Really...)

The NHL has decided not to suspend Penguins forward Matt Cooke for his hit on Boston's Marc Savard Sunday afternoon. The hit drew much attention as Cooke's shoulder made contact with Savard's head as he was releasing a shot, and temporarily knocked out Savard. (Savard has been diagnosed with a Grade 2 concussion, and it is unknown when he will return) Many fans (even those of the Penguins) were outraged at the decision not to suspend Cooke, but the truth of the matter is that Cooke did nothing technically wrong. The NHL rulebook has no rule stating that contact between the shoulder and the head is illegal, therefore no penalty should be put in effect. This was a very similar case to the hit Philadelphia's Mike Richards put on Florida's David Booth earlier in the season, and Richards did not receive a suspension either. Expect this change to be put into effect for the 2010-11 season, but as of now it is still legal. Whether it was immoral or not I will leave the reader to decide, but the concrete laws of the NHL say it was not punishable, so no suspension for Cooke. I do, however, expect Cooke to have much difficulty in opposing arenas, especially when the Penguins travel to Boston on March 18th. The Pens next game, however, is Thursday against the Carolina Hurricanes and while it is unknown whether Matt Cooke will dress, he is certainly available.

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