by Ron Spence
I’ve never liked Matt Cooke and I know personally that a number of his Canucks’ teammates didn’t either. One of them, a friend of mine, wanted to beat him up.
He has been the ultimate hit and run agitator. Say what you will about Jarks and Avery, they will at least drop the gloves after they have crossed the line. Not Cooke. He’s a coward.
Damian Cristodero of the St. Petersburg Times doesn’t advocate hockey violence. In fact, he was one of the Florida scribes who criticized Andre Roy when he went crazy in Philly.
But, he understands the game as he writes below:
Cooke should have fought Vinny
“…I thought Matt Cooke showed a lot of disrespect for Vinny Lecavalier by not fighting him during Tuesday’s game at Pittsburgh. By now, you know the back story, but for those late to the party: Cook, as a member of the Capitals last season, threw the check that separated Vinny’s right shoulder that required arthroscopic surgery. Lecavalier did not have the puck at he time and Cooke was fined $2,500 by the league.
courtesy of tampabay.com
[At the time, Cavalier and the Tampa Bay coach said: "No puck, and I'm not looking," Lecavalier said, "and no penalty."
"It's an absolute cheap shot," coach John Tortorella said. "It's a guy in a vulnerable position. It's interference. The puck isn't anywhere near him, and that isn't called. It's an absolute cheap shot."]
Cooke, before the game, said the hit was an accident. In fact, he said, “If I was trying to hurt someone, I would have been a lot more aggressive.”
Cooke and Lecavalier on Tuesday met for the first time since the incident, and Lecavalier went after him with 3:37 left in the first period. Cooke did not engage and Lecavalier got two minutes for roughing.
Smart move? Get the superstar off the ice for a few minutes? Perhaps. But the code of conduct required Cooke give Vinny a chance for payback.
Despite the rules that eliminated much of hockey’s gratuitous violence, there is still an element of outlaw justice in the game. It is a pressure release and helps set boundaries as to what is and what is not acceptable on the ice. It also ensures there are consequences for one’s actions.
You play as an agitator? Better be prepared to defend what you do?
One player hurts another. Who knows if it was accidental or intentional? Either way, Cooke should have given Lecavalier the chance, and shown him some respect in the process, to defend his honor.
Happy Holiday, everybody. See you in the new year.”
I have had a number of arguments with Cooke supporters in the past, but after his cheap hit on Alexander Edler this season, he has few fans in British Columbia.