UnNews:NHL: "Gloves off" in Boston next week
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10 March 2010
BOSTON, Massachusetts -- The entire hockey world is looking for the Boston Bruins to avenge what fans call a "cheap hit" on star player Marc Savard, during the team's rematch with the Pittsburgh Penguins a week from Thursday.
With 5:37 remaining in the game last Sunday, Savard had just shot the puck, hoping to tie the score. Matt Cooke belatedly tried to break up the shot by "checking" Savard, as the National Hockey League playfully refers to assault. The elbow to the back of the head came too late to disturb the unsuccessful scoring attempt, but it did render Savard unconscious before his head even hit the ice, giving fans the red-meat violence they come to see. The game was also seen live by dozens on the Home Shopping Network.
Savard, the Bruins' best player, received a concussion and will be out for 4-5 days, at which time doctors will declare that he will be out for even longer. Cooke said that he was merely finishing his "check" with an artistic flourish, though video shows he raised his arm before the contact. No official on the ice saw the play, and there was no penalty. Cooke received no suspension from the league, and unfortunately for the paying fan, there was no bench-clearing brawl.
General managers met on Monday to hand-wring about hits to the head. Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli argued that Cooke's renowned "inability to skate," his status as a repeat offender, and Savard's "position of vulnerability," argued for a suspension. "It's right in the rule book that hits to the head from behind are an automatic two-minute minor," said Chiarelli. Five-minute penalties are reserved for cases where bones are broken. (There are ten-minute penalties in the Olympics, but everyone knows that's not real hockey.)
As the league did not penalize the rough play, it is expected that the Bruins will take matters into their own hands when they again meet the defending-champion Penguins on March 18 in Boston, a game to be seen on The Outdoor Life Network instead of three hours of gripping video about soldier wannabees waiting in the woods for a deer to walk by. The Bruins, already with 38 penalties for fighting this season, will certainly not hit the journeyman Cooke but will target the Penguins' own stars. However, with the added ingredient of retaliation, "supplemental discipline" will be immediate, and the NHL will once again tout itself as family-friendly.
- Matt Kalman "No timetable for Savard's return." ESPN, March 9, 2010
- Also some Bruins fan at the coffee shop who just wouldn't stop talking, March 9, 2010.