Those who have followed the NHL since Colin Campbell took over as discipline czar shouldn’t be surprised that there was no suspension for Pittsburgh forward Matt Cooke Wednesday after a phone call between the league and the player about the hit on Bruins center Marc Savard.
The only shock should be that Campbell issued a reason for taking no action against Cooke, and that Campbell claims he wanted consistency between the Cooke hit and the suspension-free hit Philadelphia’s Mike Richards threw at Florida’s David Booth earlier in the season. Booth recently returned from a lengthy absence because of a concussion.
Of course, Cooke was suspended earlier in the season for a hit against the New York Rangers. So Campbell’s idea of consistency is actually not the dictionary definition. Not to mention, the plays should be separate. Cooke, in contrast to Richards, is a repeat offender who clearly went out of his way to make sure his shoulder hit Savard’s head when there were other ways he could have hit Boston’s star center.
For Campbell to claim the play was legal under modern-day rules is wrong as well. We all know by now that there is an intent-to-injure rule in the book that rarely gets enforced for whatever reason.
The only positive from this ruling is that, barring injury, Cooke will definitely be available to the Penguins when they visit Boston and the Bruins March 18. So the potential for a legal retaliation remains alive.