Matt Cooke has an ugly history, but don’t we all?
Cooke was recently suspended seven games for this hit on Tyson Barrie…
Was it a penalty? Absolutely. Was it dirty? Watch the video and forget it’s Matt Cooke… Cooke is going to check Barrie straight on and then Barrie changes his path. Cooke does not change direction or path’s and makes contact with Barrie as he lifts his knee off the ground. It’s Cooke’s responsibility to avoid contact and therefore this definitely warranted a minor penalty, just like unintentional high sticking is called.
But to say this was a dirty play and that Cooke intentionally took Barrie out is ridiculous.
Cooke’s history makes it nearly impossible for most people to give him the benefit of the doubt and that is understandable. Cooke was indeed a dirty player for many years early in his career. After numerous suspensions, Cooke came to a crossroads in his career in 2011 after this DIRTY hit on Ryan McDonagh…
Cooke received a 10 game suspension and missed the first round of the playoffs that season. Penguins GM Ray Shero was quoted saying that Cooke’s play was unacceptable and if he did not change his approach to the game, the Pens would be forced to go in a different direction.
Matt Cooke Changes His Game
Cooke took to heart what Shero said and took the entire offseason to begin changing his brand of hockey. The following season, he finished with a career low 44 penalty minutes. He had received zero suspensions since the McDonagh hit until the incident with Barrie.
Cooke had 129 penalty minutes during the 2010-11 season. Since, he’s taken 44, 36 and a 54. No suspensions. Yet, at the first chance for the NHL to discipline him, they give him seven games out and the public, once again, is assassinating his character and all the progress he’s made.
What we all forget however-fans and media- is that Matt Cooke is a human-being just like all of us: he’s got a wife and three kids, pays taxes, and attends church regularly. It just so happens that his day job is much better than all of ours. He has a dirty history, just like most people. But he’s taken responsibility for it and corrected his actions. The Matt Cooke playing in Minnesota is a very new player.
A seven game suspension is absurd.
When a clear head shot like this takes place and only a three game suspension is handed out, you clearly begin to see the NHL’s bias against Matt Cooke. A headshot should always be taken a little more serious than an accidental knee incident, yet Cooke received twice the games out that Brent Seabrook did. Repeat offender? I guess the NHL doesn’t believe in change.
Don’t be so quick to hate Matt Cooke. He’s a person, just like you. And if the whole world knew your past, I doubt they’d think the same of you. Take it back to kindergarden, and treat others the way you want to be treated. Cooke is a good guy; I speak from personal interaction with him. You don’t have to defend him, but don’t crucify him.
Re-examine the play. Was it really dirty enough for a seven game suspension? You tell me. Join the conversation on Twitter using #THW and follow @BSmithTHW.