Numerous players across the league have weighed in since the NHL announced it would be suspending Pittsburgh’s Matt Cooke for 10 games (the remainder of the Penguins’ regular season) along with the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs for elbowing the Rangers’ Ryan McDonagh in the head on Sunday. You can count the Capitals among the majority of those who are in support of the significant and swift punishment.
“It’s definitely a firm statement,” Mike Knuble said. “They made an example of his situation and they’re not putting up with it anymore. Is it fair? I don’t know, but it was definitely firm.”
Knuble went on to discuss how Cooke’s status as a repeat offender when it comes to dangerous hits makes this a different scenario than if it was the first time a given player’s actions on the ice were questioned. Veteran forward Matt Bradley agreed.
“Some of these guys, you’ve got to figure out a way to get through to them, and maybe this is the way to get through to Cookie,” said Bradley, who was Cooke’s roommate during his time with the Capitals. “You can let guys off if it’s their first time, say it was an accident or whatever, but when it’s happened repeatedly we have to get that out of our game. Whether it’s long suspensions or fines, we have to figure out a way to eliminate that from our game.”
One other Capital’s take was a little more succinct. Once the NHL’s ruling was announced Monday, defenseman Karl Alzner tweeted, “Well done @nhl”. The message was picked up and aired on NHL Network’s “On the Fly.”