…is being Matt Cooke.
Last night at the Pens game versus the Senators, this unfortunate incident occured:
Erik Karlsson was unfortunately and sadly seriously injured on a clean hit by Cooke. The defending Norris Trophy winner will require surgery on his Achilles tendon, which was lacerated by Cooke’s skate. It was an awkward and freak accident that occured on a play where the whistle could have been blown prior to it going down. It didn’t appear that Cooke meant for it to happen, and he has stated as such.
“I was at the end of a shift,” Cooke said. “As he took a shot, I went to the corner. Him and I were engaged and he went down screaming. I didn’t even know what happened.
“Obviously, I feel terrible about it. I’m not trying to do that, obviously.” - NHL.com
Cooke obviously has a history and reputation in the league as a “dirty” player, and I will not deny or refute that he more than earned that reputation and brought it upon himself. If you look back at my history as a writer on this blog and as a fan over all, I very much have supported any supplementary discipline that Cooke had to serve. Cooke has without a doubt changed his game. If I see him do something worthy of criticism, I will speak up. (Which he did do something really dumb and Matt Cooke-ish a few games ago.)
However, being fair and objective, the league was right not to hold a hearing for this particular incident. It was an accident and the league cannot punish accidents. Your history plays a factor in your discipline when you actually earn that discipline. But the online death wishes to Matt Cooke and for harm to befall him and his family are disgusting and make the fans no better than Cooke.
In the final minutes of the game, Chris Neil sucker punched Cooke after Cooke declined to fight him. It isn’t totally unexpected in this situation as the Sens were down and the team was obviously frustrated with losing and with the loss of Karlsson. It’s just how the game goes.
I wish Erik Karlsson a quick recovery.
In other news, James Neal scored another power play goals last night (and one at even strength for his 10th goal of the season) and Crosby notched his 400th career assist in a 3 point game for him after blanking in the home-home games against the Devils over the weekend.
Kris Letang and Matt Niskanen both returned from injury last night as well. The power play has greatly improved and it was good to see Head Coach Dan Bylsma keep Paul Martin at the point on the power play, as he did in Letang’s absence. Toward the end of the game, he went played two d-men on the point, allowing Crosby, Neal, and Malkin to focus more on their positioning up front.
Fleury allowed two quick goals, one that was just a weird goal, but the other not so much. Overall though, he made some spectacular saves and had a good night between the pipes.
The Pens play again on Friday in Winnipeg, facing their now former player, Eric Tangradi, who will undoubtably get ice time as the Jets dealt Alexei Ponikarovsky back to the Devils.