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Too many Elbows! March 9, 2010

Posted by Casey in Hockey.
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Grade 2 concussion, unconscious on the ice, this has become far too familiar in the NHL.   Marc Savard, of the Boston Bruins, suffered this hit (live :11, slo-mo replays starting :57) from Matt Cooke (Pittsburgh Penguins).  Cooke cleary directs his elbow/shoulder at the head of Savard, who would lose consciousness after contact with the ice.  The is hardly the first of these type of incidents in the NHL (two suspensions since the Winter Olympics), and is the last kind of publicity the league needs as it tries to push on from the excitement generated by the Canada-US Gold Medal Game.  On that basis the league’s response should be stern. The longest suspension this year belongs to Cam Janssen of the St. Louis Blues, for a late high hit on Matt Bradley of the Capitals.  That suspension was a 5 games, and Janssen’s  hit was much worse.  I fear that the league must make sure to be consistent within itself.  I think the league should see that the hit to Savard is remarkebly similar to this elbow also performed by Cooke, delivered to the Ranger’s Artem Ansimov.  Not to rest on his laurels he was also suspended 2 games for a hit on Carolina’s Scott Walker.  Thugs like Cooke are why the sport can never reach the popularity it promises at it’s best moment.  I would love to see the NHL do something drastic like suspend Cooke for 10 games.  Sadly, I think the league will come down with something like 2-4 games.  I love a hit as much as the next guy, but popping someone who has their head down, well after they release the puck, does nothing productive.  These acts of violence only shorten the careers of players (some talented/some not), and should be punished on an increasing scale, not constant leeway.  In on ice news, Alexander Ovechkin snapped a 6-game goal drought with two strikes (try and catch the second if you can) but his Washington Capitals lost in a shoot out to the Dallas Stars.