PITTSBURGH -- The Penguins and Bruins were still talking about Matt Cooke a day after Boston took it to Pittsburgh with a 3-0 shutout victory in Game 1 at CONSOL Energy Center.
Word came out hours after the game that there would be no supplemental discipline for Cooke, who trouble still seems to follow despite his best efforts to reform as an NHL predator. The five-minute hitting-from-behind major penalty and game misconduct were stiff enough penalties in a conference final game, and since McQuaid suffered no apparent injury, that pretty much removed any chance of a suspension.
Cooke attempted to explain himself on Sunday morning to the assembled media after skipping out on Saturday night following Game 1.
“I don’t control that,” said Cooke of the decision made by the NHL's Department of Player Safety not to suspend him.
“I chipped the puck in early just off the red line, and got quite a bit of interference there from [Torey] Krug, which pushed me inside. But I saw his right shoulder and he looked me right in the eyes, and at the last minute he reversed with the puck, but I had committed to hit him.
“I didn’t drive him into the boards, but I did make contact. I think it’s a penalty, but I don’t think it’s a major or worth an ejection, or a suspension. But that’s my opinion. Refs are doing their best job to call the game, and initially they might have thought [McQuaid] was hurt. But he played a shift after, so that probably affected their decision.”
In actuality, McQuaid was forced back to the Bruins dressing room for repairs and did not play until nine minutes later.
It was interesting that Penguins players were trying to intimate that Brad Marchand’s boarding penalty on James Neal at the end of the second period was equal to Cooke’s hit from behind on McQuaid, but clearly the league didn’t see things that way.
McQuaid didn’t have much a reaction upon learning there was no suspension for Cooke, and had even less reaction when he learned that some on Pittsburgh faulted the rugged Bruins blueliner for putting himself in a vulnerable position.
“It’s nothing that I have any say or control over. It’s over and done with, and there are more important things to focus on while getting ready for Game 2,” said McQuaid, who looked no worse for wear and went through a full practice on Sunday after playing just 11:57 of ice time on Saturday night.
“I don’t know why anybody would want to put themselves in a [vulnerable] position, or would want [to get hit from behind]. If that’s the way people saw it, then they’re entitled to their own opinion.”
Like any controversial, borderline line hit that occurs during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the opinions are all over the map. But clearly both teams are looking to move on from the McQuaid/Cooke incident.