Matt Cooke Suspension, Ten Games is Pretty Sad

Posted: 03/22/2011 by bc in Uncategorized

Just the facts ma’am. Serious head injuries have been a hot topic of discussion since the lockout ended. The NHL has promised to get serious about meting out discipline. Even the owner of the team about to be impacted has recently encouraged the NHL to finally get serious about more severe discipline.

If you’ve seen the video, there’s no question Cooke intentionally elbowed Ryan McDonough to the head. Even a first law student could make a compelling case that Cooke’s act was premeditated.The longest suspension in NHL history is 30 games earned by Chris Simon for stomping on the ankle of Jarkko Ruutu in December, 2007. Simon slew footed Rutuu sending him down on the ice before stomping his ankle.

And where does this Cooke suspension stand given this new tough stance by the NHL? Cooke’s ten game suspension is the 23rd longest suspension in NHL history. Even when you add in the possible seven games of the  first round of the playoffs, Cooke’s suspension goes from 23 rd to 10th. If Pittsburgh’s first round playoff lasts four games Cooke’s suspension ranks as the 14th most severe.

This link lists all of the NHL’s top suspensions.

Given an opportunity to raise the bar on disciplining intentional hits to the head the NHL’s records a fail. Given an opportunity for the NHL to walk its talk, the NHL has a fail.

Obviously, the NHL isn’t able to police itself. What the heck was the point of devoting the majority of the recent GM meetings to the issue? Where the heck is the NHLPA? Taking the usual trade association/union excuse that it has a conflict of interest between the Cooke and the general membership?

This is one of the primary reasons we have government. To step in when an industry or an individual is unable to regulate it or himself. Canadian Crown Attorney have begun to pursue criminal prosecution against players for acts occurring during games. It’s past time that District Attorneys in the USA did the same.

Professional sport is not above the law.

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