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Matt Cooke on Tyutin, Two Beauty Goals, Subban and Gill



New Hockey Primetime: On Phil Kessel and being the whipping boy.  Haven’t even submitted it yet, was antsy to blog today.  Should be up by noon MST. (link to Hockey


As I’m sure you’ve heard or seen by now, yesterday Matt Cooke ran Fedor Tyutin from behind – and I mean, numbers showing, no turning, from behind from behind - and will likely recieve a suspension for that today.  He damn well better.

Adam Proteau of The Hockey News and I got into it a little bit on twitter after he made comments that it’s the NHL to blame, not Cooke for his actions (although he did end up going with “both,”).  He started his case with this argument:

Pit bull owners say the dogs are docile but can have anger bred into them. Matt Cooke is hockey’s pit bull: reared & rewarded by his owners.

We took our disagreement to both private messages and public, largely discussing this issue itself in private ones, with my argument being that every player in the league plays under the same rules, so when one idiot continues to be a repeat offender, we can’t deflect the blame from him to the league the way we would rightfully deflect the blame from angry pitbulls to pitbull owners (we can assume by “owners,” he means those that raise them to fight).  It’s just not the same thing – we’re humans, and are responsible for our own decision-making a touch more than dogs.  We can’t let that (on-ice) animal off the hook for his actions, which is what I felt Proteau was doing.

In the end, Adam and I really did come to agree on the issue, we just needed to work our way to that common ground.  Bottom line is, the NHL needs to be tougher on him, and he needs to quit putting players’ bodies and lives in danger with his reckless play.  If he doesn’t, and the NHL doesn’t suspend him appropriately for this, Adam and I will agree: both parties will be implicit.

At least he didn't leave his skates. (Screenshot via D. Chesnokov)

Part of me wonders if the Cooke incidents are happening more (if they aren’t, it sure feels like they are.  But maybe that’s social media) because his game is in decline – not so much statistically this year, he’s just less effective as an Alex Burrows-esque agitator. 

In that role (if you’re enough of a clod to choose to play with such disrespect), you’re “supposed” to get away with cheap shots behind the play, outskate your opponent up the ice and make him catch you for a retalitory penalty in front of the ref.  I feel like he’s losing it a bit, and has to do the blatant stuff to remind us what his “role” is.  Otherwise teams would say take your 30 points and go home.

Whatever it is, it’s awful to watch, and scary to think about what could happen if the NHL doesn’t put him back in his cage for awhile.


Such a hard shot, from that angle, that high, against Fleury, off the post…. Just, wow:

And I mean…. can you sell that slapper any harder, any better before leaving your teammate with an empty-net tap-in?  McDonald to Backes, wow:


Really good story here by Arpon Basu, writing about some media members misinterpreting comments from Gill to Subban, and writing a post about Subban being bad in the room. (Bob McKenzie tweeted the story this a.m., PD may have linked it yesterday.)

I never understood reporters in the dressing room drawing their own conclusions on stuff like this (and clearly Basu doesn’t either).

I can tell you first hand, the relationship between older veterans and rookies is hilarious, because oftentimes, the old vets intentionally ride the younger guys to the point of absolute hilarity.  It’s always tongue-in-cheek, it’s always very paternal, and once in awhile old man winter will smile just so everybody remembers it’s all a joke.

There are, undeniably, generational differences that lead those older players to dislike, or not get, some of the young guys.  But as the article mentions, you almost always find a way to at least co-exist.

As for Subban throwing his jersey on the floor?  Learning not to do that isn’t “becoming a pro.”  You know not to do that in junior hockey.  Bad form, PK.

In the end, I like Subban and all his flair.  Always exciting to see what he’s gonna do next.


21 Responses to “Matt Cooke on Tyutin, Two Beauty Goals, Subban and Gill”
  1. kkobers says:

    Solid take on Cooke, but I wouldn’t say his game is in decline. Career high in goals last year and 10 already this year including a pretty one against Buffalo last week. That’s the funny thing about Cooke is he does have skill and is more than all his shenanigans which makes him all the more an intriguing player to me. Just a bad situation for everyone involved.

  2. jtbourne says:

    Yeah, that’s what I’m saying though – I know his stats aren’t in decline, just watching him play lately I feel like he looks….desperate. Maybe he’s become smarter offensively or something, I dunno…..just spitballing on reasons we might be seeing more blatantly violent acts from him. Does he have any concussions on his resume? Maybe his own eggs are a little scrambled these days. No idea.

  3. kkobers says:

    I don’t believe he’s ever had a concussion himself.

    I agree with desperate comment and honestly if you watch the Pens play right now you see it all over the ice, that happens when your big guns go down and other guys are asked to step up (Staal is a mess right now. Pressing all over the place). My guess is maybe Cooke somehow looks at “stepping up” as taking a run or causing some sort of ruckus? I mean he took a cheaper shot, in my opinion, at Ovechkin on Sunday. No idea what to think of that team right now, Cooke especially

  4. ADuds says:

    JB- I love the site and thoroughly enjoy the links to other news. I’m not sure if it’s a protocol thing or a traffic count thing, but it would be a lot more practical, as a reader, if the links opened in a new window. Two cents…keep up the good work!

  5. @skennedy39 says:

    In a sense I think both of you were right. Cooke has been reared and rewarded by hockey owners – lots of NHL players have been. They want guys that play on the edge – and when you play on the edge periodically you are going to step over the line.

    As you said the big difference is that Cooke is not without the ability to control himself. No one HAS to hit a player from behind – you just don’t have to do it. It’s always a choice. When you make bad choices you get punished. At some point if you make enough bad choices you should lose the ability to be in the position to make those choices in the first place.

    Also, the owners/GM’s/coaches should feel some pain beyond paying a suspended player. Why not make them take on the injured players cap hit as well for the duration of the suspension? So if Cooke is suspended for 5 games, you also get to add Tyutin’s salary cap hit to your numbers for the same amount of days.

    If you have a dog and it bites someone and the dog is punished but the owner isn’t….then the owner will just keep getting new dogs.

  6. Joe says:

    Hey JB, great stuff just a little correction—It’s Andy McDonald. Andy plays for the Blues, Andrew MacDonald plays for the Isles.

  7. jtbourne says:

    Thanks Joe.

    kkobers – it’ll be interesting to see what happens at the deadline with the Pens, there’s just no way to replace Malkin, hopefully Crosby’s back soon.

    Kennedy – You can’t make teams take on the injured guys salary. One human body is as valuable as the next, you’d be on some thin ice with high paid players getting more room out there, guys faking injuries to cripple another team, it’s just not realistic. As for the rest of the comment: we agree 100%.

  8. Dan says:

    JB, Another great post. Thanks for (finally) showing the Blue Jackets some love.

    About Cooke…two over-the-line hits in two games…something’s not right. There is an insecurity in his play right now that is coming out with unnecessary, suspendable hits. The part that concerned me was that Bylsma defended the hits ( I respect him as a coach – especially after 24/7 – but I think he’d fly off the handle if his players had received the dirtiness Cooke dished out.

  9. Jarick says:

    I have zero faith that Campbell and his crew have any intent to seriously punish players for in-game actions. It’s always 1-5 games, which is nothing. Until they lay HEAVY fines and LONG suspensions, it’s a non-factor.

  10. Liviu Bird says:

    I’ve always hated Matt Cooke and thought he was a no-brain thug. 24/7 highlighted that well. Even if he does an effective job being an agitator, that doesn’t excuse him from being a complete dumbass.

  11. Blake says:

    The problem with Cooke is that he’s ALWAYS played like this. He’s not getting away from what he used to do. He’s always been an extremely dirty player. I may have a bit of a Minnesota bias from when he was with Vancouver, but the dude has always done things to attempt to injure other players from spearing Matt Johnson in the boys to late and high hits he’s just a flat out dirty player who I don’t believe belongs in the NHL.

  12. jtbourne says:

    By the way everyone: Beauchemin traded for Lupul, Gardiner (U Wisconsin jr) and a draft pick.

  13. marc says:

    I know you’ve said a lot about concussions both recently and in the past especially about the way the league reacts to players who get run hard legally or illegally and how that affects both the player’s personal, professional lives and the teams they play on.

    What I have to wonder, and would love to have you chime in on, is why the hell are these guys still out there wearing the same shitty buckets on their heads? Granted I’ve noticed a lot more fancy easton helmets out there lately – But are players just not personally worried that they’re gonna get bashed into unconsciousness one day? I understand there is a lot of inertia when it comes to a career player’s gear. But frankly I just think its insane that anyone is willing to go out onto the modern day ice with a Bauer 4500 on their head still – it’s the exact same design with the same foam inside of it that it did 15 years ago – it’s not good enough.

    There are better offerings out there, players dont have to wear the same terrible, poorly ventilated, low-protection $30 lid their entire career.

  14. Sherry says:

    It’s heartening to me to get more feedback on the Cooke incident(s) from you JB and the commenters here. I was so ANNOYED after the game last night (for many reasons), but mostly because I am so dissappointed that Cooke seems to have reverted to old behaviors. Now I haven’t followed him on any team but the Pens, so I have no direct awareness that he’s always been like this – I just have what I see and hear from the Pgh and national media.

    I like the guy, I like what I’ve seen in interviews and in coverage of Pens events on and off the ice – and I mean in terms of intelligent commentary and leadership and even being one of the most soft-hearted with kids. I really thought he was going to let go most of the over-the-line stuff and focus on contributing in other ways (as he has done – he was one of two top scores on the ice for the Pens last night, which given the injuries isn’t saying a lot, but you get my drift). And yet there he is, right in the thick of controversy – again.

    The other thing that is confusing for me is his own team defending him on the last two incidents. Bob Errey was pretty incensed last night that Tyutin looked directly at Cooke and then put himself in a vulnerable position. And I respect Dan Bylsma so much that I would follow him off a cliff (well, not really), so what am I to make of his defense. And ditto my respect for Ray Shero – and he signed Cooke for a 3-year deal this season. Hard for me as a layperson to figure out what’s the bottom line truth of the matter given the hockey code and the hockey media’s propensity for overwrought hand-wringing.

    Mostly I am fucking annoyed to have to hear all about Cooke in a negative light once again (had to go thru that with Rothlisberger all summer and fall). I agree with commenters that things aren’t right up and down the team (duh), that guys are pressing, and I think that even Dan could be experiencing some dischord or hesitancy in just how to deal with the event of the last couple of weeks. Hopefully Cooke will get some fine and/or suspension so he take some time to reflect and the media can move on.

    Anyway, I just want things to calm down, and for my team to get some damn goals, and for Sid to be okay and…

    Nice story on the Gill/Subban thing – thanks for the link. I always liked Big Hal.

  15. Mel says:

    I just wanted to mention that Alex Burrows has changed his game this year, and is no longer the agitator he used to be. His penalty minutes are significantly down and apparently both he and Ryan Kesler were counselled by the coach and GM that for the Canucks to make it to the next level, they needed to cut the chirping and retaliation and stay out of the box. At first, some fans and media thought this was a bad thing as he seemed less emotional and involved, and there was a definite period of adjustment, but now the team’s results speak for themselves.

    That difference in play makes me think that most intelligent players can make significant changes to their game, and the combined responsibility lies with the player, the coach and management.

  16. neil says:

    I’ve always liked the idea of preventing a team from filling the roster spot when a guy is suspended. It’s not a huge deal, but at least it’s something. If your player gets suspended for four games, what if he just left a hole on your roster for those four games?

  17. Dundy says:

    I just read that Cooke got 4 games for his gutless act, what a joke Campbell is. The guy should be gone a lot longer for his repeated hits of players in vulnerable positions.

    Cooke has absolutely no self control, and I don’t think he will ever get it.

    If I was Crosby I would be royally pissed off and tell the Pens they need to get rid of him. Cooke’s hit was similar the one that Hedman did on Crosby and he ended up with a major concussion. I wouldn’t want to be teammates with a guy that you have to back up every time he takes one of his cheapshots. I have a lot of respect for Guerin (last year) and Ference who didn’t stick up for their respective teammates after their spineless actions.

    The Pens play the Thrashers in their final regular season game of the season, and I’m hoping Evander Kane can deliver some more payback like last year.

  18. potvinrocks says:

    Denis Potvin said that he blames Jan Hejda for the hit because he was there to protect his partner and essentially clears the path for Cooke. Hejda could “accidently” made Cooke skate the long way around him, which would have given Tyutin the opportunity to better brace himself. It’s an interesting point. As a Defenseman you do have a responsibility to protect your partner.

  19. Char says:

    Thank you, Justin, for your back-and-forth with Proteau. I had seen his orginal article and thought it was one of the dumbest things ever, like saying “society” is to blame for criminals. No, criminals are to blame for criminals. And that’s exactly what Cooke is. It’s looking more and more like he’s already destroyed the career of one of the most sublime playmakers in the NHL, so what’s next? Is he going to kill someone before he’s stopped? And when he does, will the NHL bigshots continue to weep their alligator tears?

    Shame on Bylsma for backing Cooke up. Shame on Lemiuex for signing his paycheck. And shame on the NHL for letting him get away with his dangerous, viscious antics.

  20. I completely agree about Cooke. The guy is dangerous. Whereas Sean Avery may hurt your feelings, Cooke might put you in the hospital or end your career. The guy has no respect for his opposition.


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