Matt Cooke has tried to change the way he plays the game after a handful of dirty hits earned him the label as one of the game’s dirtiest players. But as we found out Wednesday night, the rest of the league doesn’t necessarily see him as a reformed man.
Cooke is in the news again, this time for his role in ending Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson‘s season Wednesday night. Cooke’s skate blade caught Karlsson’s Achilles and ripped it open. The hit looked innocent enough, at least by Cooke’s former standards, but members of the Sens didn’t necessarily see it that way.
“We all know who’s involved in it,” Ottawa coach Paul MacLean said about Cooke, following his team’s 4-2 loss to the Penguins. “That’s just the way it is. The injury to Erik was unfortunate and it happens on a nothing play that could’ve potentially been whistled down.”
Sens general manager Bryan Murray wasn’t going to give Cooke the benefit of the doubt, either.
“It’s Matt Cooke. What else should I say?” Murray said, according to Josh Yohe of the Tribune-Review. “Watch the replay.”
Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson was a little less direct.
“I don’t know it it’s intent to injure, but I don’t know why you would hit somebody like that in that situation.”
Then again, Elliotte Friedman of Hockey Night in Canada reported Thursday morning that Karlsson wasn’t wearing a protective Kevlar sock when the play happened.
See the hit and judge for yourself below.