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Insider Only Some players around the league including Cooke’s teammates feel he should have been suspended

The National Hockey League opting not to suspend Matt Cooke has drew plenty of criticism around the league from the media and inside the locker rooms around the league.
The vibe coming out of the Penguins locker room is that the majority of players didn’t agree with Cooke’s hit on Marc Savard. and according to team insiders, the growing consensus from Cooke’s teammates is that he should have been suspended.
Many players have kept their comments to themselves but veteran Billy Guerin was very blunt in saying that players need to pay the price for their actions.
“If a guy gets hurt like that with a shot to the head, there’s got to be something,” Penguins winger Billy Guerin said today. “Actions happen. Guys don’t mean to hurt each other, but they do. You got to pay a price for that.”
Guerin added, “we’re all under the same umbrella, whether the guy’s on my team and I’m sitting right next to him or he’s playing in California,” Cooke’s teammate said. “It doesn’t matter! We’re all playing in the same league. We all want the same safety, We all want to be looked after the same way. I understand he {teammate Matt Cooke} is on my team but, hey, he’s in a tough spot.”
Among the most vocal players criticizing Cooke was Tampa Bay Lightning center Vincent Lecavalier who has a past with Cooke.
In 2008, Cooke is regarded as severely damaging the career of Lecavalier with a late/ blindsided unnecessary hit in the Lightnings’ final game of the regular season.
The hit resulted in Lecavalier having significant shoulder surgery and Lecavalier has never been the same player.
Once Lecavalier learned of the league’s decision not to suspend Matt Cooke, Lecavalier sounded off on the Penguins agitator, according to the Tampa Bay Tribune.
He’s {Matt Cooke} got no respect for the players,” Lecavalier told the Tampa Bay Tribune. “Matt Cooke, he’s been doing that for a long time.”
“He knew exactly what he was doing when he came with his shoulder,” Lecavalier added. “He knew exactly that he was going to hit his head and that’s how guys get hurt.”

Lecavalier’s teammate Martin St. Louis even joined in saying “There are certain players in this league, that you tend to see on the highlights with hits like that,” St. Louis said. “I don’t think it’s a coincidence that it was given by Matt Cooke. He’s a hard working player, I don’t want to take anything away from the way he plays the game but I think that there are times when guys are vulnerable and he still follows through. If that hit is not a suspension, I don’t know what is.”
Lecavalier believes the league is protecting the wrong players. “Look at Marc Savard, he’s out for the season. They are protecting the wrong guy, that’s for sure.”
What we do know is that Cooke won’t be signing with Tampa Bay or Boston this off-season.

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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