Pens' Matt Cooke considers himself marked
We all have read the outpouring of hate directed at Penguins trouble-maker Matt Cooke after his blind-side hit on Boston's Marc Savard. And we have heard how the hit, though not penalized or disciplined by the NHL, likely was the catalyst, along with the public and media outcry, to get the league's GMs to recommend that such hits be made illegal. Cook spoke to Pittsburgh reporters.
Here is the Q & A:
We you surprised by the NHL's lack of action against you? "I prepared for the league to make a decision; either way I was going to have to deal with it. They did their homework, obviously, with the timing of the GM meetings. Right now, my thoughts are with Savard, and I hope he gets a speedy recovery because it wasn't my intention to hurt him."
Have you made contact with Savard? "I went to as big of lengths as I could to make sure he got a message from me ... (but) I didn't speak to him."
Do you feel you'll be a marked man now? "I don't know if it's any different than it was before."
Have you had a chance to read the proposed rule, and will it make it any clearer? "I hope that it does bring clarification to what's allowed and what's not. I know they worked hard on it. I know there are strict concerns. I hope it brings clarification."
Does it? "Yeah, I think it does. I think it protects guys in certain areas of the ice."
Would it be easier to have an outright ban on blows to the head? "My personal opinion on that is the speed of the game is so great, it's impossible to do that. I think they are going in the right direction."
Do you see the rule as something that will make players think twice? "I think it's going to make sure you're in that area, and that guys are protected."
One Tampa Bay Lightning note as the team did not skate this morning: Antero Niittymaki gets the start in goal against the Capitals.