Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know Mr. Cooke has been taking some heat lately for slicing the achilles tendon of Ottawa Senators franchise defenseman Erik Karlsson with his skate, effectively ending the young star’s season.
According to the NHL player safety department, the play was deemed a freak accident and Cooke was absolved of all wrong-doing by them. But that hasn’t stopped Cooke-haters or Senators fans from thinking it was an intentional and pre-meditated.
After all Cooke has found himself in hot water more than a few times during his NHL career for questionable/unquestionable hits and plays. The last two season though, he’s been doing his best to clean up his act on the ice while still playing the game the only way he knows how, as a pest. So, its easy to see why people are so eager to find him guilty of a heinous crime.
This brings us back to B’s head coach Claude Julien, who you think would be one of the last people to defend Cooke after watching the cheap-shot artist turned born-again Christian basically end Marc Savard‘s career.
“I’ll be bluntly honest. I looked at the play. If you look at in slow motion, sure it’s going to look deliberate,” said Julien. “But in normal speed I don’t believe it was deliberate. But I can understand why Bryan Murray is upset. If I lost a player like that I’d be upset too, but sometimes when your upset you’re not being realistic… I certainly didn’t think it was purposefully done, but because it was Matt Cooke that conversation is going to be there.”
I’d have to agreed with Claude here. I was unfortunate enough to be watching the game live and it didn’t look intentional at all. Then I saw it was Cooke and I did a double-take, I started to let the idea creep in that maybe he did plan it. However, after seeing the play more than a few times in slow-motion and full speed, I’ve come to the realization it was not intentional and was indeed just a freak accident.
Whichever way you see the play, I think we should all listen to what Julien is saying and learn to look at the play instead of the player (sometimes anyway).