Matt Cooke is a cheap shot artist. There are many headaches around the NHL that are attributed to the elbows of Cooke. Well today Cooke paid the price. Better yet, his team, the Penguins, paid the price. With the score tied at one, in the third period, Cooke elbowed Ryan McDonagh and was given a five minute major and a game misconduct. However, it was the Pens who took advantage as Chris Kunitz scored a shorthanded goal to put the Pens ahead 2-1.
It was then Matt Niskanen who took a double minor for high sticking Ryan Callahan. First Gaborik and then Callahan, eleven seconds apart, scored power play goals to give the Rangers a lead they would never relinquish. Stepan added the fourth and Dubinsky, an empty netter, to close out the scoring.
The win, fourth straight, moved the Rangers to within three points of sixth place Montreal and six points ahead of ninth place Carolina. Lundqvist was brilliant in making 38 saves and in gaining his 31st victory of the year. He is the only goalie in the history of the NHL to win at least 30 games in his first six seasons. Yesterday when coach disagreeable was questioned about Lundqvist's availability for the Penguin game he said it didn't matter who was in goal. Yeah sure. And it doesn't matter whether I go to dialysis three days a week.
Anyhow, barring some unforeseen calamity, the Rangers seem destined for the playoffs which would baffle the prognosticators at SI and quite possibly, yours truly. In this instance it's good to be wrong. Hopefully it's not a one and done. However, it's good to know that it doesn't matter who is in goal.
Out of curiosity here's a look at what some of the Pens sports writers and bloggers thought of Cooke's elbowing McDonagh. Post-Gazette blogger Bob Smizik rightly called it a cheap shot. A lame-stream media type, Shelly Anderson, also of the Post-Gazette, wrote in their milquetoast story that "it appeared that Cooke targeted McDonagh's head." The rabid Pensblog said, "It will be debated on whether it was dirty or not." Yeah right, the debate is between dirty and rotten.
Bob Smizik's Blog / Post-Gazette:
Cooke cheap shot costs Penguins --
The dirty play of Matt Cooke continues to be an embarrassment to the Penguins and owner Mario Lemeiux and today it could have cost them a game in a 5-2 loss to the New York Rangers...Shelly Anderson / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
Due to his previous history and his league-wide reputation for dirty play, Cooke figures to get a long suspension, perhaps as long as eight games.
Penguins fall to Rangers, 5-2 --
The game turned on a series of events in the third period.The Pensblog:
It began when the Penguins' Matt Cooke hit New York's Ryan McDonagh near the boards in front of the penalty box. It appeared that Cooke targeted McDonagh's head with his elbow. Cooke was given a major elbowing penalty and a game misconduct and now faces his second suspension of the season...
Not good. Pens lose 5-2 --
Matt Cooke took a penalty that woke up the Rangers. It will be debated on whether it was dirty or not. What won't be debated is that it changed the game in the Rangers favor...
Matt Cooke Penalty Costs Pens the Game --
As if Cooke needs another reason to get under the skin of Rangers fans. There was of course that hit on Artem Anisimov from two years back that resulted in a two-game suspension. Now we have to sit and wonder not only how long Cooke will likely serve for this one, but also if his actions will result in him being made an example of under the new head shot rules...Pensburgh blog:
VIDEO: Matt Cooke's Elbow to Ryan McDonagh's Jaw --
As usual, I find it necessary to dedicate a special post to Matt Cooke's adventures because it often has a way of just taking over every single recap thread anyway. While I'm sure a number of comments in the recap will surround the subject anyway, a separate post should hopefully direct a majority of it to this one location.
What do you say about Matt Cooke? Lots of things actually. He's a dirty player. Period. He's a talanted player. He's vital to the penalty kill. He's competent with the puck. And he's amazing on the forecheck. But all of that is lost by the fact that he's a dirty player. And today, he was a liablity.