Big news today was the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review story on Matt Cooke and how he's going to try to be less of a jerkoff on the ice and throw less cheap shots because his wife got sick earlier this year.
Apparently this change of heart is coming because his wife almost kicked it earlier this year.
He had not played an NHL game in five months and acknowledged the next could be his last—even if he unintentionally hits an opponent in the head. (DOY: Oh, the poor boy! Let's coddle him some more!)
He said he won't, that he owes that much to the most important people in his world: Michelle and children Gabby, Reece and Jackson. (DOY: He also owes it to his fellow NHLers, but that's always been lost on Cooke)
If he cannot keep this pledge to play within the NHL's rules, the words he said in front of Michelle on Tuesday—"It all happens for a reason," he said—what would that say about him as a husband, a father?
"I don't want to hurt anybody," he said.Of course he doesn't.
More after the jump...
There was lots of talk and feeling about the McDonough hit -- which apparently was the one that finally got the idea through his thick skull that he's gotta clean up his act. Buy why McDonough? Why not Marc Savard who is still suffering from the Cooke hit, or the myriad of other cheap shots he's taken over the years?
Why not these?
We're glad his wife pulled through. We applaud Cooke for being able to balance his job, caring for his wife and being a dad. That's not easy nor fun for anyone to go through, but we're failing to see the connection Cooke is making in his mind between his wife's illness and respect for his fellow NHLers. Then again, this is Cooke and his brain doesn't fire on all cylinders. But it's almost like PTR is trying make Cooke look like a victim. We're sure The Hockey News is eating that up.
More from the PTR story:
Cooke said he has reviewed 20 hours of hits — his own and those by others such as Rangers forward Ryan Callahan — so he could learn how to deliver a legal check.
Wow. Really? The guy's in his 30s. He's been in the NHL for 13 years and we have to assume he's played hockey for years before that. You'd think somewhere along the line he'd learn how to throw a legal and clean check. If you're in your 13th season in the NHL and need to watch almost a full day's worth of video, you're fucked. We hope Cooke watched some Boychuk hits. Clean and classic they still lay a big punch.
Or even study Timmy.
Mary Paoletti of Wicked Good Sports and CSNNE had some gems in her review of the "changed Cooke:"
But some won't sympathize.
Partially because the two sides of Matt Cooke -- personal and professional -- have never synced up. Hockey fans are told the man isn't a monster because of the Cooke Family Foundation of hope (created because his niece was born without a heartbeat), because he calls home first after every game and because of "tender scenes" between he and his family exposed by "HBO 24/7".
So, as Mary points out, as long as you're blood you're safe from his negligence but if you're water, look out. Apparently this isn't going to matter anymore, however. We'll see. For anyone else we could give the benefit of the doubt. We could be cautious but say "we'll believe you... for now." But not Cooke. He's gotta earn it. And it's not going to happen over night. It's not going to happen in one season.
In the end, Cooke is still a douche on the ice and Savard is still trying to remember what day it is.