Morning Skate 29: Lots of hate for Matt Cooke

Morning Skate 29: Lots of hate for Matt Cooke

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

BOSTON Perhaps its the French-speaking media that converges on the TD Garden, or perhaps its the fact that Montreal and Boston is the best rivalry in the NHL.But theres a certain energy and jump in Boston when Les Habitants come to the Hub, and its even doubly so when the Canadiens have taken all three meetings between the two squads thus far this season.The last loss was an overtime defeat at the hands of Montreal in which the Habs overcame a 2-0 deficit with three minutes to go in the game before finally winning it in overtime. The game ended with Zdeno Chara and Hal Gill getting into it after Max Pacioretty shoved Chara after scoring the OT goal for Montreal, and its clear there are hard feelings spilling over tonight.It doesnt matter who were playing, I think were a better team when were emotionally engaged and physical, said Shawn Thornton. This is more about having a little bit of a bur and a little bit of an edge, and having everybody be physical. Not just some guys. When were like that were really good, and weve been good lately. Its a big rivalry. Its one of the biggest ones in sports, and I like that. I like that people are hatin on both sides of it. At least I hope so. I hope there are guys over in Montreal room that cant stand me. Thats the way it should be.With the hate brewing in Boston, here are the links: A well-done piece by the Vancouver Sun that compares Ray Emerys comeback in the NHL to the unsuccessful attempts by Bo Jackson to return to the NFL after the same hip surgery. An interesting look from Stu Hackel at the future of the NHL with the TV rights up for negotiation after this season. I have my fingers crossed that NBC and Comcast are big players in this, but have no inside info to share. Adam Proteau was again looking out for the victim Matt Cooke last night on his Twitter account, and this time compared him to a pit bull terrier bred for violence. Please. Reports out of Canada say that Proteau is rocking and curled up in the fetal position after hearing his "victim" was suspended four games for his evil hit from behind against the Columbus Blue Jackets. An interesting piece written by a Canucks blogger who loved Matt Cooke before he joined the dark side with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Jeremy Roenick calls Matt Cooke chicken-bleep for his flying hit from behind on Fedor Tyutin and says that Cooke deserves a 20-game suspension. Apparently the Montreal media contingent ran rampant with a story about Hal Gill swearing at P.K. Subban for leaving his jersey on the floor of the dressing room. Arpon Basu clears the whole thing up. A good, comprehensive look by Pro Hockey Talk at Matt Cooke and why he should have the supplemental discipline book thrown at him by Colin Campbell after his latest round of dastardly acts on the ice. Are they waiting for him to kill somebody?

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Morning Skate: Do Caps have mental block come playoff time?

Morning Skate: Do Caps have mental block come playoff time?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while thinking about and praying for the people of Manchester, England. It’s obviously an evil, cowardly act to bomb any public place, but to do it at a concert filled with women and children is the lowest of the low.

*The Capitals players are acknowledging that there’s some kind of mental block with the Stanley Cup playoffs. CSN Mid-Atlantic has all the details.

*It’s been a very odd postseason for the NHL where there are so many non-traditional teams still alive with the Nashville Predators in the Stanley Cup Fina, and the Ottawa Senators fighting for their lives in the Eastern Conference Final. On that note, there is a ton of disappointment at the empty seats at the Canadian Tire Centre for Ottawa’s home games in the playoffs. It sounds like there are going to be empty seats tonight for a do-or-die Game 6 in Ottawa. That is an embarrassment for a Canadian city that’s supposed to pride itself on their love of hockey. Let’s hope the Senators fans have a last-minute surge to buy tickets and show some appreciation for a Senators team that’s given the Ottawa fans a totally unexpected ride through the postseason this spring. I mean, Erik Karlsson at the top of his game is worth the price of admission all by himself.  

*The Pittsburgh Penguins have the Senators on the ropes, and it’s been an impressive showing given that they’re doing it without Kris Letang.

*Pro Hockey Talk has the ownership for the St. Louis Blues giving their GM Doug Armstrong a vote of confidence.

*Another early exit from the playoffs is going to start making some players expendable on the New York Rangers roster.

*Here’s a good piece on how David Poile built the Nashville Predators, who have reached the Stanley Cup Final for the first time. Give credit where it’s due: He manned up and made a big move dealing away Shea Weber straight up for PK Subban. It’s really worked for Music City as they’ve stepped to the next level.

*Speaking of Nashville’s rise this spring in a wide open Western Conference, Pekka Rinne has silenced the critics he might have had by carrying his team to the Cup Final.

*For something completely different: Boston law enforcement is on high alert after the bombing of the Ariana Grande concert in the UK.

 

Haggerty: Reports of Seidenberg's demise were greatly exaggerated

Haggerty: Reports of Seidenberg's demise were greatly exaggerated

Hindsight is always 20/20, of course, but it appears the Bruins made a mistake buying out veteran defenseman Dennis Seidenberg from the final couple of years of his contract. 

Seidenberg just finished up a wildly successful stint with host Team Germany at the IIHF World Championships, where he was named Directorate Best Defenseman (the tournament’s best defenseman) after leading all D-men with a goal and eight points. This came after Seidenberg, at age 35, posted 5 goals and 22 points in 73 games for the Islanders, with whom he signed after being cut loose by the B's, while averaging a shade under 20 minutes per game.  Seidenberg also had an excellent World Cup of Hockey tournament for Team Europe last summer (where he was teamed once again with Zdeno Chara), thus managing to play at a high level from September all the way through May.

A faction of Bruins fans thought he was on the serious decline after the 2015-16 season and, clearly, the Bruins agreed, opting to buy him out with two more years still left on a sizable contract extension. (They owe him $2.16 million next season and then will be charged $1.16 million on their salary cap over the next two seasons.) But the B's could have used a durable, defensive warrior like Seidenberg in the playoffs, when they lost three of their top four defensemen against the Ottawa Senators. A rejuvenated Seidenberg, able to play both the left and right side, would have been a better option than Colin Miller.

The Bruins made a conscious decision to hand things over to younger defensemen like Miller, Torey Krug, Brandon Carlo and Joe Morrow in cutting ties with Seidenberg. But they also perhaps miscalculated how much Seidenberg still had left in the tank after his best season in at least three years. 

“Well, at the time we felt like [Seidenberg's] game had really dropped off to where we thought he couldn’t contribute, and we wanted to see if some younger players could come in and help us out,” Bruins president Cam Neely said at the end-of-the-season press conference earlier this month. “I’ve got to say he played well this year for Long Island. But at the time we thought it was the right move. You can’t envision us having three of our top four D’s get hurt [in the playoffs]. We went through a lot of D’s in the postseason. You can’t predict that.”

Neely is referring to the decision made after Seidenberg’s second straight minus season in Boston, when back injuries and a major knee injury had seemed to slow him down a bit. It seemed the only way to properly evaluate some of their other, younger defenseman was to cut Seidenberg loose, but one has to wonder if the Bruins would have possibly done it had they known he was still capable of playing like he did this season for the Islanders. 

Either way, the buyout of Seidenberg is an extremely legitimate second guess of Bruins management in a year where they did a lot of things right.