|Photo via Boston.com|
Anytime the Bruins and Penguins meet there's always one name that comes to the forefront from both sides, Matt Cooke. I'm sure Penguin fans relish the "physical play" of Mr. Cooke, but Bruins and their fans see it in a different light. Cooke has a reputation around the league as a player with questionable play. Don't believe me? Let's go down memory lane, shall we? Cooke's hit on Marc Savard - back in 2010 - essentially ended the forward's career and embedded the name of Matt Cooke into the mind of every Bruins fan and player.
So it came as no surprise to B's fans or players that the Penguins forward would be in the center of another controversial hit - checking the defenseless Adam McQuaid (from behind) into the boards on Saturday.
Luckily for Cooke he was booted from the game and thankfully McQuaid was able to return to action after a brief stint in the training room. However, the tone of this series has been set and it's one that favors the Bruins long-term. But what about Cooke's hit? What was he thinking?
Here's the explanation Cooke used to justify his hit on McQuaid during game one in Pittsburgh.
“I see his right shoulder and he looks me right in the eyes,” Cooke said. “I think at the last minute he goes to make a reverse with the puck. I committed to hit him. I don’t drive him through the boards. I make contact. I think it’s a penalty. But I don’t think it’s an ejection or suspension. That’s my opinion.”
I'm not sure if the NHL believed his eye-connection theory or they're concerned about "effecting" this series with an early suspensions but Cooke will not be given any further punishment from his hit on McQuaid.
“Initially, it looked like he was maybe hurt,” Cooke said. “But he played a shift after. I think that probably affected their decision.”
Alright Pittsburgh, game on...
Follow Scott Levesque on Twitter at @scottlevesque.