There are many who have taken the odd stance of defending the noted cheap-shot artist, but Senators owner Eugene Melnyk is not happy with Cooke, and he’s apparently not happy with the league’s disciplinary system.
Speaking a day after finding out Erik Karlsson would miss the rest of the season with a severed Achilles that was delivered by Cooke’s skate, Melnyk ripped into Cooke and the fact that he’s still employed in the NHL.
“To have him taken out by a goon is unconscionable,” Melnyk told TSN. “Whether it was accidental, or whether it was reckless, or whether it was intentional, to me it doesn’t matter.
“It’s something that never should have happened. This player should never be playing in this league. It’s a league for elite players.”
Melnyk’s points to Cooke’s record, and says that by now, Cooke should have been kicked out of the league. That obviously isn’t the case, which opened the door for Karlsson’s injury, regardless of whether or not Cooke did it on purpose.
“I don’t buy any of that garbage,” Melnyk said of Cooke’s attempts to change the way he plays after multiple suspensions. “Five times? No, we’re number six? How about seven and eight? At what point do you say, ‘You know what? Maybe he’s not changed.’ You do this enough times, don’t try to convince me or anybody else. People are way too intelligent. The guy gets suspended five times. That’s how many times he’s been suspended, never mind how many times he’s not been suspended.”
Melnyk also said that he was “shocked” the Penguins would continue to employ players like Cooke. He then made the (presumably) sarcastic suggestion that the Senators should start signing these so-called “goons” as well.
“Frankly if it comes down to everybody wants to play this game, we can play it just as well as anybody else, ’cause these guys are a dime a dozen and that’s probably what they’re worth per game,” he told TSN. “A dime. You can hear I’m not very pleased with the whole thing.”
Cooke then responded to Melnyk’s comments.
“I think this is different than it was in the past for me, I know where my head is and how I feel about the play and that’s most important,” he told TSN.