Penguins Notebook: Cooke trying to reach Bruins' Savard
Bruins forward Marc Savard lays on the ice after taking a hit by Penguins forward Matt Cooke in the third period of Sunday's game.
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Penguins left winger Matt Cooke has "reached out" to Boston center Marc Savard, according to Penguins coach Dan Bylsma.
Odds are the NHL office will do likewise with Cooke soon.
Savard was injured Sunday with a hit to the head by Cooke late in the Penguins' 2-1 victory against the Bruins at Mellon Arena.
Bylsma said Monday that the Penguins had not yet heard from the league about a hearing for Cooke, but "we know they're looking at all [questionable] hits and situations, so we know they're looking at it."
Savard, who got a Grade 2 concussion when Cooke hit him on the right side of the head with his upper left arm or shoulder, flew back to Boston Monday and told the Boston Herald he was experiencing intense headaches and severe fatigue and didn't know when he might be able to resume playing.
Cooke did not participate in an optional practice Monday at Southpointe nor did he speak with reporters when it ended, but Bylsma said Cooke tried to contact Savard.
"I know Matt Cooke has reached out to him," Bylsma said.
He did not elaborate on the precise message Cooke had wanted to deliver.
Bylsma said he did not see the hit as it happened and had not viewed a replay before meeting with reporters after the game Sunday, but he subsequently did watch a replay and offered this assessment:
"I think Matt Cooke's coming back with the intention of breaking up a good scoring chance by one of their players. The unfortunate part is that a guy gets hurt and goes down on the ice. That's not a situation anyone wants to see. It doesn't matter what color uniform he's wearing."
If the NHL decides to suspend Cooke, it could be done anytime before the Penguins' next game, which is Thursday night at Carolina.
Right winger Bill Guerin, who missed the past three games because of back spasms, practiced Monday and reported no problem.
"I felt OK," he said. "It's not so much my back. It's just a matter of sitting around for three days and not being able to do anything. But I felt good."
If Guerin is able to play Thursday and Cooke is suspended, Guerin is expected to move into his usual place on the right side with Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz, while Pascal Dupuis, who has been filling in for him on Crosby's line, likely will be plugged into Cooke's spot with Jordan Staal and Tyler Kennedy.
Winger Eric Godard, who is out with a serious groin injury, skated before practice, his first time on the ice since being hurt.
When the Penguins played their first post-Olympic game a week ago tonight, they were in second place in the Atlantic Division, one point behind New Jersey.
Today, they are five points ahead of the Devils, which means that even though New Jersey has two games in hand, the Penguins control their fate in the fight for a division title.
"We prepared ourselves very well during the break," forward Max Talbot said. "Looking at the way guys were playing before the break, I kind of knew that once all these distractions of the Olympics were done, that we would be such a better team because we could focus on playing hockey, playing our style, and we would be dangerous.
"You can't say that it's a switch, on and off, but I had that feeling that, 'OK, it's done. Let's get to work.' And that's what's happened."
Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, though, cautioned against writing off the Devils, who are 4-0 against the Penguins and will play them two more times, both in Newark.
"There are still a lot of games," he said. "It still could get pretty tight."
First Published March 9, 2010 12:00 am