Thursday, July 21, 2011

Can he change?

Pittsburgh Penguins

Matt Cooke

I'm not even going to play and act like I haven't already formed my opinion on Matt Cooke. I have. I think he makes very poor choices when it comes to hits. In fact, I'm no entirely sure that Matt Cooke knows how to hit cleanly. I'm sure he can, but it doesn't seem to be in his nature. Before anyone starts jumping up and bringing in Todd Bertuzzi for no good reason, hear me out.

Matt Cooke was a member of the Vancouver Canucks during the Steve Moore incident. In fact, he replaced Bertuzzi on the line Todd was playing on during his suspension. Having lived through that unfortunate mess with the Vancouver Canucks, Matt should have known that hits and questionable plays have consequences. Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to be the case.

Before I state my case, I'm sure some Pens fan is sitting there going "But.. But.. But.. TODD BERTUZZI". What about Todd Bertuzzi? He had a very bad situation when it came to the Steve Moore incident, served his suspension, did his time, paid the money, and has moved on. If we ignore the number of games that either player was suspended, Matt Cooke has been involved in more questionable incidents than Todd. Todd's only other major indiscretion happened prior to the Moore incident and was a suspension for leaving the bench to help a teammate during a fight. Granted, leaving the bench to help a teammate during a fight is against the rules but in the grand scheme of things it's not that bad. And for that incident, Todd served his time. I'm not minimizing the Steve Moore incident by any means, I'm just making the point that Todd being excessively violent was an isolated incident.

Over the past three years, Matt has been involved in at least five situations where the league has either assessed a suspension or should have assessed a suspension. Five. That fact leads me to believe that every Pittsburgh fan that says that the Ryan McDonagh elbow was an isolated incident lives in a bubble. From elbows to head shots, Cooke seems to be unable to learn his lesson. Matt Cooke, following the 10 game suspension at the end of this season, expressed how he needs to change. It's true. He does. That's something that should have happened in 2009 after he had been suspended twice for bad hits. Only time will tell if Matt is capable of truly changing.

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