I’ve been quiet since Sunday’s loss at Pittsburgh. I didn’t want to come across as a whiny, footy pajama wearing, crybaby Bruin fan.
After today’s decision by Colin Campbell, I’m not sure where to begin. A combination of three things have me completely dumbfounded.
In this order, I can’t believe Matt Cooke’s complete disregard for another player in his league. This isn’t this guys first time in the spotlight for something as egregious as the Savard hit. Just this past November, his check on Artem Anisimov of the New York Rangers earned him a two game suspension. You tell me what the difference is between this hit and the Savard hit.
I guess in the Anisimov cheap shot, you can see his elbow come up so I have to give Cooke credit for learning his lesson and sneaking up and hitting Savard in the head with just his shoulder pad. He could have hit Savvy anywhere from the hip up to the shoulders and it would have been a classic blast on an opponent. But no – he went for the head and that’s just wrong.
After the Olympics, casual fans have been giving the NHL a try because of the high intensity and talent shown in the games. Non-NHL fans that I’ve spoken to have said it’s the quality of play that turns them away after such a successful Olympic tournament. There were some big hits and some classic goals during the Olympics. Rick Nash, a team captain and first line player on his team, was a monster playing in more of a supporting role for Team Canada. There were no “agitators” in the Olympics. It’s players like Cooke that use their sticks and never have to stand up for themselves that deter the casual fan – at least here in the States.
My rational mind understands the Bruins not immediately bringing the fight to Cooke considering their perilous playoff position, the score and time of the game. At the time of the cheapshot…errrr – clean hit approved by the NHL, there was a little more than five and a half minutes left in a 2-1 game. With the exception of a half-hearted shove from Michael Ryder, no one stepped up to defend Savard’s honor as he lay on the ice. To drop the mittens with less then five minutes left, the Savard-less Bruins would have been without another body as they tried to come from behind in yet another game that the Bruins needed points out of.
The emotional, charged up side of me is disgusted at the lack of response by the team. This is the same Marc Savard that jumped Sean Avery at the 7:20 mark of this video
after Avery slammed Milan Lucic into the boards from behind. I don’t get what happened to this Bruin team. Last year, no one messed with them. If you wanted to play physical, they were right there waiting. If you wanted to drop the mittens and fight, they were willing. Yet, not one guy went after Cooke or any of the nearest Penguins on the ice. If Don Cherry was disappointed with Lucic last week after Colton Orr broke his nose, I can’t wait to hear him this Saturday rip the team for their lack of response.
Finally and most importantly – Colin Campbell and Gary Bettman. I had a sneaky suspision nothing was coming out of this when Campbell came out and said the hit was a legal one. I can’t say for sure but in my opinion, I’m getting the feeling that Mr. Campbell has something against the Bruins. (Here’s my whiny, footy pajama wearing, crybaby Bruin fan moment) Just some brief past history.
Randy Jones almost kills Patrice Bergeron and for that hit, Jones gets a 2 game suspension.
2009 Playoffs vs. Carolina. Scott Walker is the third man in while Ward and Cullen are scrapping. Walker is the only one of the three to drop his gloves and creams Ward in the eye. For that, he got nothing from Mr. Campbell. I know, technically Ward and Cullen weren’t fighting so there can’t be a third man in call. I get it but if you’ve read this far, you understand what I’m saying.
Now this one on Savard.
I blame Bettman as well. He’s in charge of the league and if his subordinates are biased (opinion, not fact) or can’t do the job properly, he has to do something about it.
Lastly Mr. Campbell’s dart board suspension system needs to be clarified. What makes the Anisimov hit illegal and the Savard hit legal makes me wonder and shake my head. I’ve heard on talk radio here in Boston that in a situation like this where a player actually gets suspended, the NHL should be able to pick out a player of equal caliber to sit as long as the injured player. Imagine if Colin Campbell suspended Sidney Crosby as long as Savard is out because of the actions of a knucklehead teammate. Or if you took the same player points wise on their team out. Currently, Savard is fourth on the Bruins and Sergei Gonchar is fourth on the Penguins. What would happen to the Pens if they were to lose Gonchar for potentially the rest of the season? It’s a slippery slope that I don’t think you can start going down on but it would certainly give some clarity as to who gets suspended and how long.
Lastly, if this seven game road trip goes completely south on the Bruins and they fall back out of a playoff position, I would hope that the team makes a statement to the Penguins. With the team sitting in the 8th seed (hello Washington in the first round) I’d be willing to give up the playoffs and two home games just to see if the team has any soul left to take out Cooke.
Claude Julien said after Sunday’s game that they held back and waited for the league to make things right with Cooke. Well, the NHL let the Bruins down. I don’t wish any long term harm on anyone but I do want to see the Bruins physically take out the Penguins a week from tomorrow here in Boston. Yes, that means I want to see 87, 71, 55 and 11 on the receiving end of HARD, LEGAL CHECKS. Whatever that means.
This hit is like pornography. There’s no real definition of porn but you know it when you see it.
One last thing. How many games does Steve Begin get if he did to Crosby what Cooke did to Savard?
About the Author
Written by Jim Mulligan