NHL hits Penguins' Cooke with long suspension
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The NHL has suspended Penguins left winger Matt Cooke for the final 10 games of the regular season and the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs for a hit to the head of New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh Sunday.
Cooke was assessed a major penalty and game misconduct after he delivered the blow early in the third period of what became a 5-2 New York victory at Consol Energy Center.
He will forfeit $219,512.20 in salary.
It is the second suspension this season for Cooke. He sat out four games in mid-February after hitting Columbus defenseman Fedor Tyutin from behind.
"Mr. Cooke, a repeat offender, directly and unnecessarily targeted the head of an opponent who was in an unsuspecting and vulnerable position," said NHL discipline official Colin Campbell. "This isn't the first time this season that we have had to address dangerous behavior on the ice by Mr. Cooke, and his conduct requires an appropriately harsh response."
The Penguins, who have taken a strong organizational stance against blows to the head, issued a statement supporting the suspension.
"The suspension is warranted because that's exactly the kind of hit we're trying to get out of the game," general manager Ray Shero said. "Head shots have no place in hockey."
Cooke's punishment was handed down after a hearing in Toronto this afternoon. Shero joined him at the hearing.
First Published March 21, 2011 5:32 pm