Pens' Cooke not feeling snubbed by NHL decision

Matt Cooke is not holding a grudge against the NHL. "I've got to believe that the league is trying to protect everyone," he said Saturday, speaking with media for the first time since being hit in the head two days earlier by Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson during the Penguins' 2-1 win.
Matt Cooke is not holding a grudge against the NHL. "I've got to believe that the league is trying to protect everyone," he said Saturday, speaking with media for the first time since being hit in the head two days earlier by Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson during the Penguins' 2-1 win.
| Sunday, Dec. 4, 2011

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Matt Cooke is not holding a grudge against the NHL.

"I've got to believe that the league is trying to protect everyone," he said Saturday, speaking with media for the first time since being hit in the head two days earlier by Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson during the Penguins' 2-1 win.

The NHL did not conduct a hearing with Carlson, despite his arm making clear contact with Cooke's head.

Cooke remains unsure if Carlson targeted him or if it was carelessness on the defenseman's part.

"I couldn't tell you his intent," Cooke said. "Only he knows that."

Cooke, who was suspended twice last season, vowed before the season to adopt a cleaner-style of play, and he has followed through. He has been guilty of only four minor penalties this season.

Cooke said he was not concerned about the league's decision to not punish Carlson.

"I just trust that they're doing the right things and that they have everybody's best interest in hand when they're making decisions," he said.

Open skate no-show

A few hundred Carolina fans showed up for a morning skate that was open to the public. The only problem was new coach Kirk Muller canceled the session, not knowing it was open to the public. Muller apologized to the crowd.

Michalek could return Monday, Letang likely out

Neither defenseman Kris Letang nor defenseman Zbynek Michalek has been diagnosed with a concussion.

Letang is still experiencing pain in his head, but that could be the result of breaking his nose last week. Coach Dan Bylsma indicated there is a chance Michalek could play Monday against Boston. It seems unlikely Letang will play.

Extension for Civic Arena ornaments

The Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation has extended the order period for Civic Arena roof ornaments -- crafted by Wendell August Forge and made from pieces of the arena's steel roof -- until 5 p.m. Dec. 14. The $29 ornaments can be purchased at www.pittsburghpenguinsfoundation.org .

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