Bruins want payback on Matt Cooke
The buzz in Boston for their rematch with the Pittsburgh Penguins is at a Stanley Cup level but for all of the wrong reasons.
Tonight marks the first game since Penguins winger Matt Cooke delivered a blindside shoulder-to-head hit on Bruins star center Marc Savard which in all likelihood has ended Savard’s season.
Cooke is a wanted man in Boston from the fans, media, players and even Bruins tv announcer Jack Edwards who said the Bruins need to knock “nine” teeth out of Sidney Crosby’s mouth if they want to send a real message.
There’s some belief that to get payback on Cooke is to send a message by going after one of Pittsburgh’s star players in Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.
However, the Bruins are fighting for their playoff lives and while payback is wanted and warranted on Matt Cooke, Boston can’t afford a loss.
The league which didn’t diffuse the situation by not suspending Cooke, are sending a veteran crew to Boston tonight.
Veterans Bill McCreary and Stephen Walkom will be the referees, while Brian Murphy and Tony Sericolo will be the linesmen.
McCreary one of the most respected referees in the game, has been a referee for 1,597 games, which is second most on the active list behind Kerry Fraser who has been a referee in 1,828 games.
Walkom a resident of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has plenty of experience working as NHL’s director of officiating for four seasons following the lockout. He just returned to the ice this season.
Meanwhile, linesman Brian Murphy has officiated in 1,207 NHL games. It is no coincidence that the NHL is sending a veteran crew to tonight’s game but many believe that Cooke will take his licks and that will be it.
Although sources in the organization tell me that players in the locker room are not happy that Cooke has put them in this kind of situation, Pittsburgh will be more than prepared if Boston wants to mix things up.