Cooke pricing his way out of Pittsburgh?
The Penguins' Matt Cooke checks the Canadiens' Andrei Markov into the boards in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinal Friday at Mellon Arena.
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Q: By having a career year and always taking our cap room into consideration, do you feel that Matt Cooke is pricing himself out of Pittsburgh?
MOLINARI: Cooke has established himself as a solid third-liner for the Penguins, meshing well with Jordan Staal and Tyler Kennedy. He's responsible in his own end, kills penalties well and tosses in the occasional goal. In short, Cooke is the kind of blue-collar worker that every team needs, despite his penchant for occasionally crossing the line that separates marginal hits from dirty ones.
He is earning $1.2 million this season, and will be eligible for unrestricted free agency if he's not re-signed by July 1. It's safe to assume that the Penguins will be extremely interested in keeping him and, based on what Cooke has said to this point, that remaining with the Penguins is his preference, as well.
Because the salary-cap ceiling is expected to stay roughly the same for 2010-11 -- remember, there was a time when a precipitous drop was feared because of the downturn in the economy a couple of years ago -- and because it seems unlikely that another team would offer a staggering sum to Cooke if he tests the open market, the thinking here is that he's a pretty good bet to return.
Important as Cooke is to the Penguins' success, he's not the kind of a guy who is a true difference-maker, which probably limits his leverage in negotiations. He's certainly earned a raise with his performance during the past two seasons, but it doesn't figure to be so much that it would make retaining him prohibitive for the Penguins.
Q: If the offensive team dumps the puck in, an offensive player is already in the zone (delayed offside situation) and the dump-in happens to elude the goalie and go in, does the goal count?
Jim Montuoro, Rock Springs, Wyo.
MOLINARI: No, it would not.
Here are some relevant excerpts from Rule 83.4, which deals with such situations:
"If the puck is shot on goal during a delayed offside, the play shall be allowed to continue under the normal clearing-the-zone rules. Should the puck, as a result of this shot, enter the defending team's goal, either directly or off the goalkeeper, a player or an official on the ice, the goal shall be disallowed as the original shot was offside. The fact that the attacking team may have cleared the zone prior to the puck entering the goal has no bearing on this ruling.
"The only way an attacking team can score a goal on a delayed offside situation is if the defending team shoots or puts the puck into their own net without action or contact by the offending team."
First Published May 7, 2010 12:00 am