The Pittsburgh Penguins return to action on Wednesday night against the New York Rangers, and they'll be doing so without forward Matt Cooke who will begin serving a two-game suspension for a hit on Carolina's Scott Walker. The hit occurred in the first period of the January 20 game in Pittsburgh, while Cooke received a two-minute minor for interference. Walker did not return to the game following the incident.
There's no video of it on YouTube or NHL.com, and, frankly, I think the suspension is a bit much (as I recall, it wasn't any worse than this hit byAlex Ovechkin). The NHL is attempting to crack down on hits to the head, however, and Cooke has a reputation around the league. Whenever the two are mentioned in the same sentence ("Matt Cooke" and "hit to the head") a suspension is probably to be expected.
Of course, it's still nice to know that the NHL views hits to the head as only 1/3 the problem as off-color sex jokes. I'm sorry, but that horse can never be beaten enough.
As for what this means to the Penguins, well, it means quite a bit because Cooke had been skating on the top line over the past couple of games, and playing extremely well.
On the plus side, Sidney Crosby is expected to be in the lineup for Pittsburgh. Crosby has been bothered by a knee injury and withdrew from Sunday's All-Star game in Montreal. He was able to avoid the one-game suspension handed out to Detroit's Pavel Datsyuk and Nicklas Lidstrom because he made an appearance in Montreal.
Penguins Forward Matt Cooke Suspended 2 Games for Hit on Scott Walker originally appeared on NHL FanHouse on Wed, 28 Jan 2009 17:20:00 EST . Please see our terms for use of feeds.