Monday, March 21, 2011

Cooke Gets His Punishment & Isles this Week

I won’t belabor the point. You all know what happened. But I suppose as one of those who suffered the slings and arrows of the Gillies suspension, I have a right to say something about the Matt Cooke decision.


A ten game plus first playoff round suspension proves the NHL is at least looking to be fair when handing out discipline. As so many others said today, the proof will be what happens with the NEXT incident and how that is handled. This was such a high profile case with someone who has a history of dirty plays that had the league handed a two or three game suspension down, there would probably have been a mutiny by the fans and reporters.

But let’s look at a few other things that are bothering me about the situation. I was not available to watch the game and as Matt Cooke was not playing during the terrible Friday that lead to Trevor Gillies suspension, I didn’t know that he was wearing an “A.”

An “A”? The player whom I have heard so often being called one of the dirtiest players in the league was wearing an “A” on the Pittsburgh Penguins? The flagship club of the NHL itself? How does that happen? Better yet, WHY does that happen?

Next, everyone waited to pounce on Mario Lemieux’s next open letter to the league. We were all wondering about the follow-up to the ill-advised condemnation of the NHL Let’s revisit that statement:

"We, as a league, must do a better job of protecting the integrity of the game and the safety of our players. We must make it clear that those kinds of actions will not be tolerated and will be met with meaningful disciplinary action.

The “integrity of the game” didn’t seem to be important to Matt Cooke on Sunday afternoon. Not only didn’t he care about “the game,” he didn’t seem to care about THAT game. He probably single-handled lost the Penguins two points that afternoon.

"The NHL had a chance to send a clear and strong message that those kinds of actions are unacceptable and embarrassing to the sport. It failed.”

Mario felt a nine game suspension was a failure. How does he now feel about potentially 17? Well deserved? Too much? Bang on? What?

Well, we more than likely will not hear another word on the subject from Mario as anything he can say now will either make him a hypocrite or an idiot. We know he is not the latter, so perhaps he may be the former.

“If the events relating to Friday night reflect the state of the league, I need to re-think whether I want to be a part of it.”

Or maybe Mr. Lemieux is drafting his resignation from the league.

Lastly, I would love to know what Paul Steigerwald has to say about the incident. You remember him? He‘s the one that made the comment about Garth Snow being “pleased as punch” regarding the Friday Fightfest. Well, it seems the only thing that saved Mr. Steigerwald from being the same type of hypocrite or idiot was the fact that the game was on NBC and covered by Eddie O and Doc. Although I really would have liked to hear the spin he would have put on it. Perhaps he would have said that Cooke “accidentally” tried to separate the player from his helmet. Or that maybe he lost an edge and was falling awkwardly which is why his elbow was out.

We’ll never know what that call in the heat of the moment would have been.

Only the players themselves will change the what happens on the ice. No matter what the penalties or rules are, if the players themselves are not willing to play by them, Colin Campbell’s carpet will be well worn.

Meanwhile, Trevor Gillies will be available to play on Saturday March 26th against the Flyers. The question is WILL he?

Islanders take on Tampa tomorrow in St. Pete and return home on Thursday the 24th to face the Thrashers. If you’re in the neighborhood of Long Beach, hockeythisweek, starts Tues at 6 at the Beach House with the Isles/Rangers/Devils and rest of NHL on all the T.V.s.

If you’re heading to the game on Thursday, try to stop down to Doolin’s in the lower level of the Coliseum where IceCreepsMike will be hosting hockeythisweek, LIVE beginning at 6 pm. Come say “Hi” as I will be finding a way to screw up his show for a few minutes before heading up to the press box to hide.

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