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Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Bruins support NHL decision on Matt Cooke

By Joe McDonald

BOSTON – Several members of the Bruins organization said they believe the NHL made the right decision by suspending the Penguins’ Matt Cooke for the remainder of the 2010-2011 season as a repeat offender of the head-shot rule.

Bruins forward Brad Marchand, who recently served a two-game suspension for an elbow to the head of the Blue Jackets’ R.J. Umberger, spoke his mind Monday morning prior to the league’s decision later that day, saying Cooke should serve a lengthy suspension.

Following the Bruins’ optional morning skate on Tuesday, Marchand said the league did the right thing.

“The league is trying to make an example of anyone making head shots right now,” Marchand said. “There are a few suspensions going on right now and [Cooke] was an opportunity to set in place what they’re trying to do, and they did it. That’s a big suspension, a tough one, and I think it’s going to make anyone think twice about making head shots now.”

Cooke had an in-person disciplinary hearing with the league Monday afternoon in Toronto for his elbow to the head of the Rangers’ Ryan McDonagh during Sunday’s game.

Of course, the Bruins and Cooke will forever be linked to head injuries because of the blindsided hit he landed on Marc Savard on March 7, 2010 in Pittsburgh. Savard missed two months with a severe concussion and suffered post-concussion syndrome last summer.

Cooke was not suspended for his hit on Savard and has been a repeat offender since that incident.

Bruins captain Zdeno Chara addressed the Cooke situation briefly. “I think after the GM meetings they agreed on being more serious about consequences and they showed that,” he said.

Bruins coach Claude Julien said he would rather focus on his own team at this point, but that he believes the NHL acted accordingly.

“I’m not sitting here and commenting on other suspensions. I respect what the league is doing and that’s my answer to that. You kind of take care of your backyard and let the media handle those things."