Kovacevic: Senators' tiptoeing on Cooke speaks volumes
TribLIVE Sports Videos
WINNIPEG, Manitoba -- Dear Ottawa Senators,
Do, please, shut up.
Better yet, speak up.
Say what's really on your mind about Matt Cooke. Say that you believe he maliciously - no, viciously - brought his skate crashing down on the back of Erik Karlsson's ankle with the intent of injuring him.
I'm imploring you. Say so in the simplest of terms.
Because, you know, I don't think any of us has heard you come right out with anything beyond veiled accusations.
Am I missing something?
When Paul MacLean, your coach, was understandably disturbed to lose his Norris Trophy defenseman Wednesday night at Consol Energy Center, this was as close as he came to evaluating the play itself: "We all know who's involved in it."
Meaning Cooke. When pressed upon the play itself, MacLean flatlined: "That's not for me to decide."
When the GM, Bryan Murray, addressed it Thursday in Ottawa, this was his response to the NHL's ruling that the outcome was an accident: "They suggest it was a hockey play gone bad. I suggested that Matt Cooke had somewhat of a history and that maybe that should be considered, as well. I don't believe that was the approach they took. They took it as the individual act."
As for the play itself, the best Murray produced was, "I can't do anybody's else job but my own."
Anyone hear a direct call-out anywhere in there?
But hang on. The best was still to come from Eugene Melnyk, the franchise owner, for crying out loud. He took a ton of shots at Cooke in an interview with the Ottawa Sun published Friday, but this came out, too: "Whether it was accidental or whether it was reckless or whether it was intentional, to me, it doesn't matter."
Oh, that's immaterial?
Seeing the pattern yet?
No one directly accuses Matt Cooke of anything other than being Matt Cooke.
As if that's somehow a case.
As if sifting through Cooke's ugly, five-suspension past - and ignoring the universally lauded change to his game the past two seasons - somehow fully prosecutes a single play in the present.
Gee, wonder why such a cautious approach to criticizing.
Is it because talking about the actual collision would require explaining how Cooke - or any human limited to just two eyes - could target a highly specific body part of a player to his left while the video shows Cooke looking to his right?
Is it because complaining about Cooke raising his leg during the check could prompt someone to easily compile a video montage of how common that technique is?
Wait, Canada's TSN did that?
Right. Coaches and players call it the stick-and-pin, and you can count such checks into double-digits in every game.
So, Senators, what else could it be?
Why not just say you really, really seem to want to say but can't?
Is it because Melnyk already once made a fool of himself by demanding the lifetime ban of Kris Letang - no, really, look it up - for a routine shoulder check that hurt Jason Spezza?
Is it because Melnyk is nervous casting aspersions on fair play when, in his capacity as chief executive of the Canadian pharmaceutical giant Biovail, his misreporting financial statements forced him to settle with the Ontario Securities Commission on a $565,000 fine and a five-year ban from running any public company?
Or that he has paid more than$1 million to settle other claims with the Securities and Exchange Commission in the United States?
Should Melnyk be held forever accountable for those transgressions, as Cooke apparently should for his?
Is it because the moment Melnyk blurted out his most boneheaded statement of all - "I'm just shocked that that organization employs that type of individual?" in reference to the Penguins and Cooke - that he immediately grasped the inherent hypocrisy in having employed Chris Neil, Jarkko Ruutu and a list of similar players that's longer than the Rideau Canal?
Wow, imagine if any NHL owner known to more than a dozen people outside Canada's capital had made such a statement, essentially pointing the finger at an entire franchise in relation to one incident.
Imagine if Mario Lemieux had made such a statement.
Only time Lemieux's spoken up about a game incident in his capacity as owner was following that farcical, 15-fight bloodbath on Long Island two years ago. That night, you'll recall, the Islanders actually did act institutionally by promoting nearly every thug on the organizational payroll for the purpose of putting on a circus. Slightly different circumstance.
This was a single play.
And for some reason, our good friends to the north, you don't seem all that comfortable talking about that play.
I'll ask again: Why is that?
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Founder of Z&M Cycle Sales in Hempfield killed in Florida motorcycle crash
- Starkey: Tomlin lived in his fears
- W.V. entrepreneurs offer hope as coal fades as economic engine
- Slain St. Clair officer walked into ‘worst nightmare’ for police
- Increasing player salaries pinch financial flexibility of Pirates
- Fabregas: To pay or not to pay: Hospital’s bill for procedure or insurer’s rate?
- 2,200 union employees of ATI lose coverage
- 7 percent in Allegheny County allowed to carry concealed gun
- Penguins’ reshuffled top line of Crosby, Dupuis, Kunitz looks familiar
- U.S. Marine found guilty of killing transgender Filipino
- Film session: Long shots dotted Steelers’ passing game