Monday, March 21, 2011
Matt Cooke attends hearing in Toronto
ESPN.com news services
Penguins forward Matt Cooke met with NHL officials Monday afternoon in Toronto regarding possible discipline for his actions in Sunday's game.
Cooke was given a five-minute major penalty and ejected 4:36 into the third period of a 5-2 loss to the New York Rangers for an elbow to the head of defenseman Ryan McDonagh.
The meeting lasted for about an hour, and Cooke left the league's offices without commenting to the media, the Toronto Star reported. A decision was expected by Monday night, before the Penguins' 7:30 p.m. ET game at Detroit, the newspaper said.
The meeting had initially been set for 1 p.m. ET but was pushed back to 1:30 p.m. because of travel problems.
Cooke has been suspended three times over the past three seasons for illegal hits. He also delivered a hit on Boston's Marc Savard in March 2010 that resulted in a severe concussion and prompted the NHL to adopt a new rule that bans blindside hits to the head.
Bruins winger Brad Marchand, who recently completed a two-game suspension for his elbow to the head of an opposing player, said the NHL needs to suspend Cooke.
"I think it's about time he gets [suspended]," Marchand said. "He needs to be taught a lesson. He's doing that stuff left, right and center. I expect he'll get a bunch of games. He's got to be taught a lesson. He can't be running around doing that stuff all the time. He's going to seriously hurt someone again -- look at Savvy. He could have easily hurt McDonagh."
Cooke appeared to stick out his elbow to strike McDonagh near center ice.
"I didn't see him coming. I know it hurt, that's for sure," McDonagh said. "I would hope it wasn't his intent. It's a tight game. I'm sure he's not trying to get his team a five-minute penalty. He's probably just trying to finish his check and just caught me wrong."
Cooke wasn't available to reporters after the game. Rangers coach John Tortorella sidestepped the question of what discipline the NHL should give Cooke, saying, "That's not for me to decide. You're not getting me involved in that stuff."
Led by co-owner Mario Lemieux and general manager Ray Shero, the Penguins have been vocal about lobbying the NHL to penalize head shots with more fervor.
Cooke likely will be suspended for his latest infraction.
"I don't think you can talk about eliminating head shots from the game, as we have as an organization, and not expect [Cooke's hit] to be examined," Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said. "It's what looks to be a contact right to the head on the play, so the league will look at that and treat it as such."
Information from ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun, The Associated Press and ESPNBoston.com's Joe McDonald was used in this report.