Savard had just taken a shot from
above the circles when Cooke raised his shoulder and struck Savard in
the head. Cooke was coming from behind on the play and Savard did not
Savard was on the ice for several
minutes, being attended to by a Penguins team doctor, before being
carried off. He was moving his legs while on the ice and his arms while
on the stretcher.
“It’s pretty obvious that was
definitely a dirty hit,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “That’s
probably the classic blindside hit to the head. … I’m usually reserved
in making comments, but definitely the league will take care of it.”
Savard, one of Boston’s top players
with 10 goals and 23 assists, was expected to stay in a Pittsburgh
hospital on Sunday night. The Bruins were unaware after the game of any
medical problem other than the concussion, although they said Savard was
No penalty was called, which
especially angered the Bruins.
“A guy like that has to be suspended,”
Julien said. “That’s the way I see it because it’s an elbow to the head
from the blind side, and that’s exactly the example they show, what
we’ve got to get out of this game. We got a guy who’s got a concussion,
our best player, and he’s going to be out for a while. He was out on the
ice for a bit and that’s unacceptable.”
Cooke, a player with the reputation of
taking borderline hits, insisted he was only finishing his check. TV
replays appeared to show Cooke had enough time to pull up and not slam
into Savard, and that he raised his arm before the hit.
“I felt like it was shoulder to
shoulder,” said Cooke, who is uncertain whether he will be suspended by
the NHL. “I know he’s shooting the puck but I just finished my check. I
got hit the same way my shift before at center ice by their defenseman,
except I (ducked) at the last second.”
Several Bruins players said they
liked how the team didn’t spend the rest of the game trying to
retaliate, but focused instead on trying to get the tying goal.
“It’s always hard to see one of your
teammates go down,” defenseman Zdeno Chara said.
Currently, shoulder to head hits are
not banned by the NHL. However, league general managers voted in
December to investigate the problem before they meet again this week.
They are considering rules that would prohibit contact to the head, even
with a shoulder.
“At some point there’s got to be a
clear indication from the league because we’ve seen this so many times
now,” Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said. “You don’t like to see
anyone, their own teammate or an opposing player, lay on the ice like
that. That was scary.”
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