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Penguins

Flyers: Long suspension justified for Cooke's hit

| Friday, March 25, 2011

The Flyers historically are sympathetic to players creating controversy. The occasional cheap shot here and goon there has always been part of Flyers' lore.

These days, however, even Penguins left wing Matt Cooke can't get warmth from the Flyers.

"The hit didn't need to be made," Flyers center Blair Betts said. "A suspension was definitely justified."

The Flyers weren't surprised the NHL came down so hard on Cooke by suspending the multiple offender for 14 to 17 games.

No one in the Philadelphia locker room seemed particularly surprised or upset Cooke won't be around for a while.

"A lot of people are echoing it," Flyers D Braydon Coburn said. "The punishment he got fit the crime."

Many of the Flyers stopped short of calling Cooke a dirty player, but more than one player implied it.

"You don't necessarily expect him to give you a dirty hit," Betts said, "but you had always keep your head up when he's on the ice."

• The Penguins recalled goalie Brad Thiessen from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton because Brent Johnson was a late scratch. Johnson appeared healthy during the morning skate.

• Three Penguins attempting to return to injury — defenseman Brooks Orpik, left wing Eric Tangradi and center Mike Comrie — took part in the morning skate.

• Center Sidney Crosby hasn't played since Jan. 5, but his popularity remains high. His jersey is the league's top-seller for the 2010-11 season. Crosby is followed on the list by Alex Ovechkin, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and teammate Evgeni Malkin.

Additional Information:

Scouting report

Penguins vs. Devils

7 p.m. today, Consol Energy Center

FSN/WXDX-FM (105.9) and The Penguins Radio Network

Season series: The Penguins are 2-1-1 against the Devils this season but have dropped their past two to New Jersey. They host the Devils twice in the last two weeks of the season.

Who to watch: Right wing Alex Kovalev. He hasn't been particularly productive during his second stint with the Penguins but has a good history against New Jersey goalie Martin Brodeur.

Trends: The Penguins have recorded more than two goals only once in their past 10 games against the Devils, and that game • a 3-1 win in New Jersey on Oct. 11 • saw Paul Martin score an empty-net goal. ... New Jersey has dropped three of its past four games after going 22-3-2 and nearly moving into playoff position after a horrendous start.

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