Keep Matt Cooke Off NHL Ice

Although Matt Cooke of the Minnesota Wild has never scored more than 20 goals in an NHL season, his name is constantly in the news. Cooke and other players of the same mold bring negative attention to the league and entire sport through dirty hits, on ice agitating, attacks on star players and numerous suspensions.

May 3, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins left wing Matt Cooke (24) reacts after being assessed a slashing penalty from referee Kelly Sutherland (11) against the New York Islanders during the first period in game two of the first round of the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs at the CONSOL Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

These punishments and incidents often become big news items and take away from all the positive strides the NHL has made over the past decade.

Since the 2008-2009 season, Cooke has been suspended for hits on Artem Anisimov, Scott Walker, Marc Savard, Fedor Tyutin and Ryan McDonagh. The hit on McDonagh earned Cooke the longest suspension of his career when he was forced to sit out the final ten games of the 2010-2011 regular season and first round of the playoffs. Cooke vowed to change his ways. Nevertheless, moving forward he was still involved in a questionable play that resulted in a serious injury to Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators, one of the league’s top defensemen who was forced out of action for months

Let me be clear. A good, clean fight will always be a part of hockey. However, that’s not what we’re talking about here. Clearly, Cooke has been nothing short of a designated goon whenever he’s in the game and that only serves to damage the league’s reputation. Hockey is dangerous enough when played in a clean and respectful manner; the sport doesn’t need cheap shot artists ruining the careers of its star players or anyone for that matter.

The NHL needs its marquee players on the ice and in the news in order to climb back to the top of the American sports landscape. Players like Cooke, those who consistently injure other players and bring negative attention to the game, should be permanently banned from the National Hockey League.

Topics: Matt Cooke, NHL, Suspensions

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  • Anon

    Cooke is a consistent 30+ point player in the league, and hasn’t been suspended since the end of the 2011 season. And don’t even mention the incident with Erik Karlsson, as that was clearly unintentional. Your biased towards him might have you see that in a different perspective though. The man produces and writing articles that bash him is just pointless. How can you be ok with fights in the game, but bash one of the strongest hitters in the league? Don’t understand this.

    • Tom McQueen

      Please don’t be offended….but I don’t reply to anonymous posts.

      • MohammadShapiro

        I am offended.

        • Tom McQueen

          Watch the video and maybe you’ll be less offended….then have a great day and thanks for your comment.

          • MohammadShapiro

            I’m still offended after watching the video, and I’m offended at being told to watch the video.

          • Tom McQueen

            That’s hysterical. And I’m offended that you’re offended so easily. Thanks for making my day…that was really funny!

      • Robert McQueen

        Understand. Changed the name. (We have the same last name. Weird O_0) My point still stands.

        • Tom McQueen

          Watch the video….the tape doesn’t lie. Then have a great day!

          • Anon

            Ugh. The only reason Don Cherry is still in the business is because of his suits. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about half the time. Thanks for really clearing that one up for me…. Have a great day or something.

          • Tom McQueen

            I was suggesting that you watch the video of the dirty hits, not Don Cherry’s tie.

  • Robert McQueen

    Understand. Changed the name. (We have the same last name. Weird O_0) My point still stands.

  • Jamie Paoletta

    Tom, congratulations! You managed to type, and somehow publish, an article where all of the evidence is over 2 years old. Nothing here is relevant at all to the way Cooke has played the past couple seasons. Don Cherry is almost as opinionated as you are and has outlived his usefulness to the NHL. Anyone who thinks the Karlsson injury was deliberate is just as misinformed as you are.
    Rather than bash him, you should be praising him for cleaning up his game. He does not got for headshots, he does not attack the knees, he is not a dirty player anymore. He has cleaned up his game that anyone with a brain can respect.

    • Guest

      I don’t think Don Cherry is quite as opinionated as I am when it comes to hockey but thanks for your opinion.

      • Jamie Paoletta

        Please don’t be offended….but I don’t reply to guest posts.