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Greatness=PavelDatsyuk

No suspension for Cooke

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Serious question, how much NHL hockey did you watch before the rule? It really wasn't the way you might immagine it was.

And I do not think that removing the instigator rule is all that is needed to stop cheapshots - it is one step of many that should be taken.

Penalize blindside hits, remove the instigator, outlaw hard pads, get serious about suspending offenders. That would be a good start.

In the event that there would come a time that league thugs started forcing Dats and those like him into fights, I would want to see that addressed. I don't think it would become an issue, as it wasn't an issue before.

I would say that the other changes you suggest, beyond the insitgator, would be enough. (Well, I'd also mandate proper chin straps on helmets, and probably look for improvements to visors. Hard pads need some analysis. The pads themselves aren't a problem, but they probably contribute indirectly to more reckless play.)

Now on to the instigator rule. Serious question for you. Do you really believe that the chance (not even a guarantee) of getting a minor penalty is keeping enforcers from preventing cheap shots?

First of all, the instigator rule does not prevent violent retaliation; it only assesses a penalty for it. Now think about it logically.

You have a 'cheap-shotter', under current rules, if he delivers a cheap shot (like the Cooke hit), he faces the possible consequences of: Penalty in game (minor, major, misconduct, ejection...up to the discretion of the refs), League Discipline (suspension, fines), Retaliation from the opposing team. So cheap-shotter must either ignore or at least not be thinking about any of those consequences before taking a cheap shot.

You have an enforcer, under current rules, he may (probably even) get a minor penalty for retaliating and a misconduct. Frequent offenders (or in certain circumstances) may face more serious discipline. To NOT retaliate, he must consider the value of his 'enforcement' to be less than what would be lost by taking the penalty. This alone suggests that the 'deterrence factor' of enforcers can not be very high (at least in the minds of the enforcers themselves).

Furthermore, removing the instigator rule would NOT allow an enforcer to force someone into a fight. All Cheap-shotter has to do is ignore the enforcer. How many enforcers are going to chase someone down from behind and risk a Bertuzzi-Moore incident. (Oddly enough, people often cite that case when arguing against the instigator rule. As if removing the instigator would make it impossible to turn your back and skate away from someone.) The league would never allow someone to just pummel another player who wasn't defending themselves. There would be legal ramifications. So at best it allows maybe one or two shots that maybe (not even guarantee) doesn't result in a penalty on the 'instigator'. Consequently, it would also allow the same for bullies to do the same to star players / non-fighters (even if such a thing would be rare [as an aside, I'd suggest you look into the old Flyers borad street bullies]) Also note that the NHL has had at least some version of the instigator rule since the Original 6 days. And really, most of the criticism of the instigator rule would more properly be directed at the Agressor rule, which is the one that penalizes players for fighting unwilling or defenseless opponents.

So you trade increased risk (even if only slightly) to star players for an increase in the likelihood of one potential consequence (the value of which has already been determined to be less than a minor penalty) for the cheap-shotter.

You seem to have this romanticized, WWE-esque notion of enforcers as some kind of super hero, before whom the forces of evil cower in fear. Or rather, they would be, if not hamstrung by the instigator rule. As though they have the ability to protect others from harm, but are too honorable to break the rules in order to do so. As if having a just cause would instill them with some righteous power to conquer their enemies. Like said enemies would, if the instigator were removed, be unbreakably bound by some code to accept their due punishment.

The truth is, players can't police themselves. Like I said before, all that does is allow the toughest guy around to make the rules, even if that guy happens to be one of the 'bad-guys'. Discipline has to come from authority. Authority can not come from violence. It's too inconsistent.

edicius likes this

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lots of words

Hockey teams are supposed to win. Actions which draw penalties, especially from borderline players, are not generally smiled upon by coaches.

Me personally, I'd rather get a few days off work in punnishment for doing something dumb than have an angry Derek Boogard come after me. *and* get a few days off work. I doubt I'm the only one.

Elimination of the instigator rule is not the anwer to all of the league's problems, it's part of the answer.

First of all, the instigator rule does not prevent violent retaliation; it only assesses a penalty for it. Now think about it logically.

Rules against crosschecks to the face, hits from behind into the boards and slew foots do not prevent these acts, they merely penalise them. Now think about it logically.

The instigator is not a 2 minute minor - it's 2, 5, 10 and sometimes fines (for coach and player) and suspensions. As the rule stands today, players must be very careful about instigating fights.

Furthermore, removing the instigator rule would NOT allow an enforcer to force someone into a fight. All Cheap-shotter has to do is ignore the enforcer.

It's hard to ignore a man who's punching you in the head.

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I would say that the other changes you suggest, beyond the insitgator, would be enough. (Well, I'd also mandate proper chin straps on helmets, and probably look for improvements to visors. Hard pads need some analysis. The pads themselves aren't a problem, but they probably contribute indirectly to more reckless play.)

Now on to the instigator rule. Serious question for you. Do you really believe that the chance (not even a guarantee) of getting a minor penalty is keeping enforcers from preventing cheap shots?

First of all, the instigator rule does not prevent violent retaliation; it only assesses a penalty for it. Now think about it logically.

You have a 'cheap-shotter', under current rules, if he delivers a cheap shot (like the Cooke hit), he faces the possible consequences of: Penalty in game (minor, major, misconduct, ejection...up to the discretion of the refs), League Discipline (suspension, fines), Retaliation from the opposing team. So cheap-shotter must either ignore or at least not be thinking about any of those consequences before taking a cheap shot.

You have an enforcer, under current rules, he may (probably even) get a minor penalty for retaliating and a misconduct. Frequent offenders (or in certain circumstances) may face more serious discipline. To NOT retaliate, he must consider the value of his 'enforcement' to be less than what would be lost by taking the penalty. This alone suggests that the 'deterrence factor' of enforcers can not be very high (at least in the minds of the enforcers themselves).

Furthermore, removing the instigator rule would NOT allow an enforcer to force someone into a fight. All Cheap-shotter has to do is ignore the enforcer. How many enforcers are going to chase someone down from behind and risk a Bertuzzi-Moore incident. (Oddly enough, people often cite that case when arguing against the instigator rule. As if removing the instigator would make it impossible to turn your back and skate away from someone.) The league would never allow someone to just pummel another player who wasn't defending themselves. There would be legal ramifications. So at best it allows maybe one or two shots that maybe (not even guarantee) doesn't result in a penalty on the 'instigator'. Consequently, it would also allow the same for bullies to do the same to star players / non-fighters (even if such a thing would be rare [as an aside, I'd suggest you look into the old Flyers borad street bullies]) Also note that the NHL has had at least some version of the instigator rule since the Original 6 days. And really, most of the criticism of the instigator rule would more properly be directed at the Agressor rule, which is the one that penalizes players for fighting unwilling or defenseless opponents.

So you trade increased risk (even if only slightly) to star players for an increase in the likelihood of one potential consequence (the value of which has already been determined to be less than a minor penalty) for the cheap-shotter.

You seem to have this romanticized, WWE-esque notion of enforcers as some kind of super hero, before whom the forces of evil cower in fear. Or rather, they would be, if not hamstrung by the instigator rule. As though they have the ability to protect others from harm, but are too honorable to break the rules in order to do so. As if having a just cause would instill them with some righteous power to conquer their enemies. Like said enemies would, if the instigator were removed, be unbreakably bound by some code to accept their due punishment.

The truth is, players can't police themselves. Like I said before, all that does is allow the toughest guy around to make the rules, even if that guy happens to be one of the 'bad-guys'. Discipline has to come from authority. Authority can not come from violence. It's too inconsistent.

1st off - no one here is claiming that enforcers will prevent each, and every attempt of a cheap shot from occurring; all they'll do is to seek "payback" in the form of fisticuffs upon the guilty party which may make them think twice about future attepmts to run an opponent.

2nd - most tuff guys follow a "code" in which they'll leave a smaller/skilled opponent alone - unles provoked.

3rd - for those of us here that were watching hockey back in the 1980's we didn't see as many head shots/cheap shots, and overall blatant disrespect that we see in todays game...Much of that is due to the fact that players aren't being held accountable by other players...It's not as though fighting was the only form of punishment - suspensions were handed out by the league as well...Unfortunately the league doesn't make the right decisions as we have seen with Cooke; now there's a chance the Bruins will seek their own justice which could get ugly...20 years ago we would've seen someone go after Cooke, and it would've been taken care of (although there's always potential for follow-up beatdowns in every game thereafter), but now with the league NOT SUSPENDING Cooke - I wouldn't be too surprised if things got ugly the next time the Pens/Bruins meet.

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I wouldn't be too surprised if things got ugly the next time the Pens/Bruins meet.

Don't hold your breath - generally, league spokesfolk talk to teams before games that are expected to be heated and threaten suspensions to anyone who steps out of line. Players taking matters into their own hands draws attention to the fact that the league is either unwilling to or incapable of handling the situation.

In a perfect worls, Chara, Thornton, and Lucic would draw straws to see which one of them gets to pound Cooke first.

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Don't hold your breath - generally, league spokesfolk talk to teams before games that are expected to be heated and threaten suspensions to anyone who steps out of line. Players taking matters into their own hands draws attention to the fact that the league is either unwilling to or incapable of handling the situation.

In a perfect worls, Chara, Thornton, and Lucic would draw straws to see which one of them gets to pound Cooke first.

Wasn't there a similar response by the league just before the whole Bertuzzi/Moore incident, or did the league get involved after Brad May made the remarks about "geting even"?...My memory is a bit foggy concerning the exact details.

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Wasn't there a similar response by the league just before the whole Bertuzzi/Moore incident, or did the league get involved after Brad May made the remarks about "geting even"?...My memory is a bit foggy concerning the exact details.

And the Bertuzzi/Moore incident is probably the key reason why the league does not want the players to police themselves in situations like this.

Considering the GMs know more about the sport than I do I trust they are making the right call when it comes to the instigator (though I wish there wasn't as harsh a penalty involved).

Edited by Doc Holliday

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Wasn't there a similar response by the league just before the whole Bertuzzi/Moore incident, or did the league get involved after Brad May made the remarks about "geting even"?...My memory is a bit foggy concerning the exact details.

I'm not sure, I wouldn't doubt it though. Bert sure was dumb - he could have forced Moore to fight if he wanted to - or at least spun him around so he was punching him in the face instead of the back of the head.

And the Bertuzzi/Moore incident is probably the key reason why the league does not want the players to police themselves in situations like this.

I think it's possible for players to police themselves without punching eachother in the back of the head, just like I believe it's possible for the players to play a game with sticks and not swing their sticks at eachother and that it;s possible to allow bodychecks without tollerating headhunting.

If the league were interested in sending a message that cheap, dangeroous plays are not acceptable, Bert would not be playing today.

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I think it's possible for players to police themselves without punching eachother in the back of the head, just like I believe it's possible for the players to play a game with sticks and not swing their sticks at eachother and that it;s possible to allow bodychecks without tollerating headhunting.

If the league were interested in sending a message that cheap, dangeroous plays are not acceptable, Bert would not be playing today.

I believe it is "possible" as well. The one problem is no matter how much you try to control the game but still allow the players to police themselves to a certain degree, every so often (McCarty, McSorely, Simon, Bertuzzi) there is going to be a player who does something stupid, risks a serious injury, and puts the league in a bad spot. From a business standpoint they want to make that risk as little as possible (hence the instigator).

Now I am not talking about whether that is working or not, just that from their perspective it made some sense.

Edited by Doc Holliday

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I wonder what kinda suspension for waiting for the guy who takes out crosby or malkin in an identical way as cooke took out savard?...

5 games? 10 games? a lifetime ban?

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You know what is sad about this. A bruin's player could do the same thing to a pens player the next time they play. That player will be suspended because the league would say it was pre meditated, even though the hit is "legal" in the rules. This non suspension just took the league back a few steps. They went in the opposite direction of eliminating head hunting. The NHL should have made up for it's mistake with the Richards hit by suspending Cooke.

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I believe it is "possible" as well. The one problem is no matter how much you try to control the game but still allow the players to police themselves to a certain degree, every so often (McCarty, McSorely, Simon, Bertuzzi) there is going to be a player who does something stupid, risks a serious injury, and puts the league in a bad spot. From a business standpoint they want to make that risk as little as possible (hence the instigator).

Now I am not talking about whether that is working or not, just that from their perspective it made some sense.

This.

Let the players play and the referees handle the punishments.

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I believe it is "possible" as well. The one problem is no matter how much you try to control the game but still allow the players to police themselves to a certain degree, every so often (McCarty, McSorely, Simon, Bertuzzi) there is going to be a player who does something stupid, risks a serious injury, and puts the league in a bad spot. From a business standpoint they want to make that risk as little as possible (hence the instigator).

What would you like to see the NHL do re headshots?...and what of the instigator penalty? Keep it, s***can it, or modify it?

The Simon and McSorely incidents were awful, but unrelated to fighting or the instigator penalty. I really liked Marty Mac, but I would have been happy to have seen him and Simon recieve lifetime bans for their stick-chops, that stuff has no place in the game and should be dealt with more harshly than it has been. Ditto Bert - he shouldn't be playing. Serious suspensions are how you eliminate these attacks from the game, not by adding an additional penalty for starting a fight.

I don't want to see an NHL with more fights per se. I want to see a better, more honest, more entertaining NHL that is fast paced and hard hitting with room for all sorts of fans. One that is clean and treats it's players well by protecting them from cheapshots to the extent that they can throu dicipline, and allowing players to plice themselves to the extent that they can through fear.

I f*** off at work all day long. I know that if I get caught, I might be written up or even suspended w/o pay if I get caught. If my employer hired a 275lb guy who would punch me in the grape if I was spending the whole day on Fark and LGW, I think I'd be more inclined to play by the rules:)

Edited by micah

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What would you like to see the NHL do re headshots?...and what of the instigator penalty? Keep it, s***can it, or modify it?

The Simon and McSorely incidents were awful, but unrelated to fighting or the instigator penalty. I really liked Marty Mac, but I would have been happy to have seen him and Simon recieve lifetime bans for their stick-chops, that stuff has no place in the game and should be dealt with more harshly than it has been. Ditto Bert - he shouldn't be playing. Serious suspensions are how you eliminate these attacks from the game, not by adding an additional penalty for starting a fight.

I don't want to see an NHL with more fights per se. I want to see a better, more honest, more entertaining NHL that is fast paced and hard hitting with room for all sorts of fans. One that is clean and treats it's players well by protecting them from cheapshots to the extent that they can throu dicipline, and allowing players to plice themselves to the extent that they can through fear.

I f*** off at work all day long. I know that if I get caught, I might be written up or even suspended w/o pay if I get caught. If my employer hired a 275lb guy who would punch me in the grape if I was spending the whole day on Fark and LGW, I think I'd be more inclined to play by the rules:)

So basically we wouldn't need police in either. People would just call their buddy to go and beat up the bad guy. Doesn't work like that, and wouldn't work in hockey either.

There are certain rules in hockey, like laws in real life. Referees are the police and they take care of the justice. Don't you understand how stupid it even sounds that punching someone in the face would be the punishment? We aren't living in the Stone Age anymore.

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What would you like to see the NHL do re headshots?...and what of the instigator penalty? Keep it, s***can it, or modify it?

Modify it. Too harsh right now, because I think that when it comes to situations like the Cooke incident, someone should have the option to at least beat the s*** out of him without getting 5, 2, 10, and a game. Perhaps just two minutes so that there won't always be a guy pounding away on an unwilling guy, but when something like Cooke/Savard occurs someone can keep him honest.

The Simon and McSorely incidents were awful, but unrelated to fighting or the instigator penalty. I really liked Marty Mac, but I would have been happy to have seen him and Simon recieve lifetime bans for their stick-chops, that stuff has no place in the game and should be dealt with more harshly than it has been. Ditto Bert - he shouldn't be playing. Serious suspensions are how you eliminate these attacks from the game, not by adding an additional penalty for starting a fight.

I agree, I was just commenting on how the league is TRYING to get a handle on situations with such a chaotic environment. I am not saying that it works.

I don't want to see an NHL with more fights per se. I want to see a better, more honest, more entertaining NHL that is fast paced and hard hitting with room for all sorts of fans. One that is clean and treats it's players well by protecting them from cheapshots to the extent that they can throu dicipline, and allowing players to plice themselves to the extent that they can through fear.

I f*** off at work all day long. I know that if I get caught, I might be written up or even suspended w/o pay if I get caught. If my employer hired a 275lb guy who would punch me in the grape if I was spending the whole day on Fark and LGW, I think I'd be more inclined to play by the rules:)

Fair enough.

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If suspension isn't the right place for Cooke then how about jail?

Jail is a bit extreme regarding this stuff. It's not assult in a criminal sense.

egroen likes this

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... This non suspension just took the league back a few steps. They went in the opposite direction of eliminating head hunting. The NHL should have made up for it's mistake with the Richards hit by suspending Cooke.

Agreed. Campbell basically declared open season for head shots for the rest of the year with his two wrongs make a right mentality.

What I don't get is, days after Avery waved his hands in front of Brodeur's face to screen him, the league makes a rule against it the next day. But head shots can wait until the offseason.

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Agreed. Campbell basically declared open season for head shots for the rest of the year with his two wrongs make a right mentality.

What I don't get is, days after Avery waved his hands in front of Brodeur's face to screen him, the league makes a rule against it the next day. But head shots can wait until the offseason.

A lot rules/shortcuts/suspensions or whatever probably has to do with player reputations unforutantely.

Sean Avery with his past antics...

Tomas Holmstrom gets called for a lot of phantom/b.s. interference calls...

Something bad happens to Sidney Crosby, a massive suspension will probably happen to the person who hit him...

Etc.

I love watching hockey and always will love to watch it, but the subjectivity of all these kinds of things is just such a joke, it's embarassing. It needs to be as close to black/white as possible, no grey area.

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Hockey teams are supposed to win. Actions which draw penalties, especially from borderline players, are not generally smiled upon by coaches.

Me personally, I'd rather get a few days off work in punnishment for doing something dumb than have an angry Derek Boogard come after me. *and* get a few days off work. I doubt I'm the only one.

Elimination of the instigator rule is not the anwer to all of the league's problems, it's part of the answer.

Rules against crosschecks to the face, hits from behind into the boards and slew foots do not prevent these acts, they merely penalise them. Now think about it logically.

The instigator is not a 2 minute minor - it's 2, 5, 10 and sometimes fines (for coach and player) and suspensions. As the rule stands today, players must be very careful about instigating fights.

It's hard to ignore a man who's punching you in the head.

And I suggest that removing the instigator would create additional problems that would nullify any potential benefit. There's a reason civilized nations outlaw vigilante justice; It doesn't work.

Your point on the penalties illustrates to some degree my point. Though instead of dirty plays, think hooks, trips, and holds and such. A player gets beat, they will often hook or hold to prevent a scoring opportunity. The penalty is thought to be less severe than allowing the scoring chance. They may even not get called. The benefit outweighs the risk.

You're saying basically that the benefit of starting a fight after a dirty hit does not outweigh the risk of an instigator penalty. You're saying you would rather allow a potentially preventable injury to a teammate than spend 12 extra minutes in the penalty box.

Conclusion: The benefit of starting a fight can not be very high.

As for ignoring someone...it's not that hard. First, there's no guarantee any enforcer will be on the ice, nor in the immediate viscinity. Even if they do catch you, it's not that hard to turtle up and protect yourself from injury. In that case, it is the aggressor rule, not the instigator, that protects the one getting beat. And there is no chance in hell the aggressor rule will ever be removed. The league will never, ever allow unmitigated beatings of defenseless players, 'deserved' or not. The legal repercussions would be far too severe.

...

3rd - for those of us here that were watching hockey back in the 1980's we didn't see as many head shots/cheap shots, and overall blatant disrespect that we see in todays game...Much of that is due to the fact that players aren't being held accountable by other players...It's not as though fighting was the only form of punishment - suspensions were handed out by the league as well...Unfortunately the league doesn't make the right decisions as we have seen with Cooke; now there's a chance the Bruins will seek their own justice which could get ugly...20 years ago we would've seen someone go after Cooke, and it would've been taken care of (although there's always potential for follow-up beatdowns in every game thereafter), but now with the league NOT SUSPENDING Cooke - I wouldn't be too surprised if things got ugly the next time the Pens/Bruins meet.

You're making a lot of assumptions. Admittedly, I don't remember alot of specifics from the 80s, but there were certainly cheap shots back then. The game wasn't as fast, nor the players as big. I think that is more to o blame for the lack of respect. Players just aren't as aware as they should be of what kind of damage they can do. Even now, cheap shots like this Cooke hit aren't exactly common. Tough, consistent discipline from league authority would be enough to raise awareness, without any potential drawbacks.

As for future retaliation against Cooke, this is where I see these arguments lose all logic.

You're actually suggesting that the fairly minor punishment for instigating prevented the Bruins from responding, but you wouldn't be surprised to see them do so in the future, in a game likely under heavy scrutiny, after likely being warned, wherein the penalties will likely be far more severe.

....

I swear, it's like all you instigator opponents were raised by hippies. Like you have this idea that violence is wrong, so you need to justify your desire to see more of it by trying to argue that it's a necessary evil. As though players are in mortal peril every time they step on the ice, and they must be allowed to fight for their lives.

Football is every bit as physical and violent as hockey, with just as much opportunity for cheap shots and dirty play, yet it has thrived for more than 100 years without fighting. I would say, if anything, players in the NFL have a greater degree of respect for both the rules and their fellow players than players in the NHL display, despite the lesser ability to 'police' themselves. Fighting is obviously not necessary.

But it's OK to like it, and want to see more of it. It's not barbaric. Two willing participants competing. Nothing wrong with it. Stop acting like we need it and just embrace it as an entertaining aspect of the game.

mjlegend, egroen and F.Michael like this

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You're making a lot of assumptions. Admittedly, I don't remember alot of specifics from the 80s, but there were certainly cheap shots back then. The game wasn't as fast, nor the players as big. I think that is more to o blame for the lack of respect. Players just aren't as aware as they should be of what kind of damage they can do. Even now, cheap shots like this Cooke hit aren't exactly common. Tough, consistent discipline from league authority would be enough to raise awareness, without any potential drawbacks.

As for future retaliation against Cooke, this is where I see these arguments lose all logic.

You're actually suggesting that the fairly minor punishment for instigating prevented the Bruins from responding, but you wouldn't be surprised to see them do so in the future, in a game likely under heavy scrutiny, after likely being warned, wherein the penalties will likely be far more severe.

The hits to the head like the one Cooke placed on Savard are by no means something new - however they're becomming more prevelant these past few years hence the concern amongst the league.

Pre-instigator rule we had not seen the hits to the head as often as we do today; primarily it's due to the lack of respect, part due to the increased in speed, part due to the increase of size, and of course the equipment (hard plastic).

I don't buy the fact that the players are unaware of the repercussions/damage they can cause; it's why guys like Cooke have a history of this kind of play - they simply don't care...These guys don't live under rocks.

As for the lack of response by Bruin players on the ice - I'm not sure if they were fully aware of the severity of Savard's injury, or who it was that nailed their teammate (even though Cooke was cornered up against the boards)...Honestly I was surprised nobody ripped Cooke's head off...The league warned the Canucks after Moore hit Naslund yet we all know what happened a few weeks later...It wouldn't surprise me if someone went after Cooke.

The league continues to be a farce when it comes down to handing out punishment; I'd much rather see Cooke get bloodied via Lucic/Thornton than no suspension, or a suspension lasting few measly games (but that obviously didn't happen).

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Agreed. Campbell basically declared open season for head shots for the rest of the year with his two wrongs make a right mentality.

What I don't get is, days after Avery waved his hands in front of Brodeur's face to screen him, the league makes a rule against it the next day. But head shots can wait until the offseason.

Ugh... thanks for once again reminding me of the suspension heirarchy in the NHL:

Sean Avery says "sloppy seconds" to the press (no prior suspensions) = 6 games

Matt Cooke hits another player in the head from the blindside and ends his season (twice suspended in the past year) = no penalty, no suspension

EDIT: And sort of on topic - Grier could have taken Rafalski's head off in the game tonight. Yikes! It was nice to see him step aside on that play.

Edited by egroen

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I swear, it's like all you instigator opponents were raised by hippies. Like you have this idea that violence is wrong, so you need to justify your desire to see more of it by trying to argue that it's a necessary evil. As though players are in mortal peril every time they step on the ice, and they must be allowed to fight for their lives.

Football is every bit as physical and violent as hockey, with just as much opportunity for cheap shots and dirty play, yet it has thrived for more than 100 years without fighting. I would say, if anything, players in the NFL have a greater degree of respect for both the rules and their fellow players than players in the NHL display, despite the lesser ability to 'police' themselves. Fighting is obviously not necessary.

But it's OK to like it, and want to see more of it. It's not barbaric. Two willing participants competing. Nothing wrong with it. Stop acting like we need it and just embrace it as an entertaining aspect of the game.

Have you ever seen football footage from the 1950's/1960's?...Alot more dirty than what we see today...In football you can dman near kill somebody each play; getting even is alot more common than you think, and the threat of getting your head removed on the playing field keeps players to a certain extent honest.

I personally feel if there's the threat of someone capable of smashing your face with his fists - your more likely not to play a style that'll result in said beating (though over the years there have been a few players in the league that took a beating, or 2 and continued their chippy play)...Contrary to what some would like to think - very few players/GMs/coaches would regret geting rid of the instigator penalty...Players who play by the rules, and are honest won't have to worry about getting beaten up; tuff guys who play by the code don't do that - it's guys like Cooke who have to worry...What's wrong with that?

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And sort of on topic - Grier could have taken Rafalski's head off in the game tonight. Yikes! It was nice to see him step aside on that play.

That's because Grier's a good guy and Cooke's a piece of trash.

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