The NHL has finally issued a suspension for dangerous play which actually has some teeth in it.
Pittsburgh's Matt Cooke has been suspended for the remainder of the regular season (10 games) and the first round of the playoffs after his deliberate elbow to the head of Ranger Ryan McDonagh on Sunday.
Cooke will lose just under $220,000.00 in salary and as many as 7 playoff games. Players don't get paid in the playoffs so there is no monetary loss there, but clearly its a heavy punishment to miss playoff games for regular season crimes.
Most people in the NHL have for some time, considered Cooke the most dangerous player in the NHL. Not because of his size, but because of his ongoing disregard for the safety of other players. Youtube is filled with Cooke hits and other buffoonery which is extremely dangerous and often causes injuries. The fact that none of his 4 previous suspensions were longer than 4 games points out how little supplementary discipline affected his actions.
This suspension may get his attention and the attention of others around the league. That is until the next incident occurs and a softball suspension is levied. For this punishment to have an affect on what players do on the ice, it has to be followed up with a new level of deterrents for everyone, not just Matt Cooke.
Bravo to the NHL for finally getting tough. Now the question is, can they remain tough?
See you at the rink.