Matt Cooke is not a saint (this one is serious)

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Matt Cooke is not a saint (this one is serious)

By Mary Paoletti
CSNNE.com

I'm a fan of perspective.

As a story-teller, I realize there's often more than one side to everything and that both should be explored. Especially if the main character is being put on trial.

But don't insult my intelligence with a 'Matt Cooke's not a bad guy' angle.

This excerpt is from SI's story, "The Public Enemy":
Cooke is at an Italian restaurant in Pittsburgh's Strip District with John Lawrence and his family. Lawrence is 19. When he was 16, he suffered extensive brain and spinal injuries in a car accident and remained in a coma for 10 months. When Cooke heard about Lawrence through his foundation last fallMatt and his wife, Michelle, started the Cooke Family Foundation of Hope five years agohe invited Lawrence's family to the opener in Pittsburgh's new Consol Energy Center in October and took him to practice the following day. While Cooke was being trashed in the wake of the Ovechkin and Tyutin hits, Lawrence's father called a reporter at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review who previously had written about his son to say the city should know the other side of Matt Cooke. "John admired Matt's bravery and strength and turned to that when his rehab was rough," said his father, who is also named John. "Everybody was teasing John that his favorite guy was a dirty player, a goon, but Matt's just a guy who fights for his position on the team. A battler."

I thought of it today because at 1:30 p.m Cooke had a disciplinary meeting with Colin Campbell -- the third since February 6. He's accused of yet another dirty hit and the question is not if he'll get suspended again, but for how long.

Matt Cooke is rotten and I'm sick of hearing otherwise. He could start 15 foundations and it wouldn't matter. Why? This is a hockey problem. There can be no character witnesses who aren't employed by the NHL.

And this statement by Cooke -- "The biggest thing for me is that on the ice, there's a persona. It's what it is because that's what's made me successful. But that has nothing to do with who I am" -- is worthless.

This is what you aren't understanding, Matt: I don't care who you are as a person. On the ice -- as a hockey player -- you recklessly hurt opponents. And it needs to stop.

A Stanley Cup and nine 10-goal seasons in 10 years doesn't make someone who repeatedly hits guys in the head a tough, niche-player. There's a list of guys in the NHL who, despite philanthropy or impressive stats, will also be remembered as jerks because of dirty hits.

Here are a few. I hope the names make you feel less lonely, Cooke. The way guys with prison girlfriends don't feel lonely.

MARTY MCSORLEY
Off the Ice: Has participated in the Scotiabank ProAm hockey tournament that benefits the Gordie & Colleen Howe Fund for Alzheimer's. "To see people you love . . . slipping away. It's hard.'' McSorley said. Alzheimer's is terrifying; it's difficult not to sympathize.

On the Ice: Repped as one of the NHL's dirtiest players. He retired with 3,381 career penalty minutes. The video shows a hit on Donald Brashear that earned him a 1-year suspension from the NHL and an assault conviction in Canadian court. Seriously.

BRYAN MARCHMENT
Off the Ice: Participated in team charity events that benefited the UConn Children's Cancer Fund. He's also golfed in the Gary Roberts and Friends celebrity tournament held to raise money for Jumpstart (helps low-income children succeed in school).

On the Ice: 13 suspensions in his first 12 seasons. Has injured: Mike Modano, Joe Nieuwendyk, Greg Adams, Mike Gartner, Kevin Dineen, Peter Zezel, Pavel Bure, Paul Kariya, Wendel Clark and Martin Rucinsky. (What's that, four different countries?!) Marchment really shines at the 1:00 mark of this video.

ULF SAMUELSSON
Off the Ice: He's given countless sticks away to fans and charities. The Swede has played charity hockey in his home country as well.

On the Ice: Tuffe Uffe's fans and most teammates loved him. That's because they never opposed his elbows. "Ive never tried to put a player out for the season, Samuelsson once said. But it wouldnt bother me if I put a player out for a game.

Um.

CLAUDE LEMIEUX
Off the Ice: In 2009, Lemieux skated in "Battle of the Blades." The couples figure skating represented one or two charities. Shares respected hockey opinions on TSN's "Off the Record."

On the Ice: Another Stanley Cup winner. Snagged the Conn Smythe Trophy in 1995. Could also be a total dick. Biting Calgary's Jim Peplinski's finger in a fight was small time. Check out these classy moves. Dino Ciccarelli on Lemieux after the 1996 Detroit-Colorado series: "I can't believe I shook his freakin' hand."

BOBBY CLARKE
He's considered a legend: Hall of Famer; four Stanley Cup finals; three 100-point seasons; three Hart Trophies. He was a much better hockey player than Matt Cooke could ever hope to be. He was also dirty.

While watching this video, keep in mind that this game was a "friendly" with Czechoslovakia.

DeRozan has career-high 43, Raptors beat Celtics, 107-97

DeRozan has career-high 43, Raptors beat Celtics, 107-97

TORONTO - DeMar DeRozan scored a career-high 43 points and the Toronto Raptors rallied from a 17-point deficit to beat the Boston Celtics 107-97 on Friday night.

DeRozan shot 15 of 28 from the floor as he surpassed his 42-point effort against the Houston Rockets on March 30, 2015, helping the Raptors overcome the absence of fellow All-Star Kyle Lowry. Lowry sat out with a right wrist injury.

Serge Ibaka, acquired by trade from the Orlando Magic last week, scored 15 points in his debut, while fellow newcomer P.J. Tucker, picked up from the Phoenix Suns on Thursday, had a game-high 10 rebounds and nine points in his first game for his new team.

Isaiah Thomas scored 20 points for Boston, which also got 19 points each from Jae Crowder and Marcus Smart.

Down 91-88 with 4:11 to play, the Raptors went on a 9-1 run to lead by five with 2:01 to play. Though Crowder cut that lead to three with a jump shot with 1:46 remaining, DeRozan drilled a jump shot with a minute remaining to put the Raptors up by five.

Tucker was unable to convert either free throw after being fouled by Al Horford with 47 seconds left, but Thomas missed the next time down the court, and after being fouled by Smart, DeRozan converted both free throws with 33 seconds to play. He then followed up with two more after a three-point play from Smart to take the game away from Boston with 27.5 seconds to go.

The Celtics found their range early, connecting on 55 percent of their shots from the floor and 40 percent from 3-point range in the first quarter. The Raptors could only hit 40 percent and went 0 for 3 from beyond the arc, and while DeRozan topped all scorers with 10 points, they were trailing 29-18 after 12 minutes.

Boston pushed its lead to 17 on a 3-point shot from Jaylen Brown with 1:29 to play in the half, but Toronto closed on a 7-0 run following a flagrant foul by Thomas on DeRozan.

The Raptors continued their comeback effort in the third quarter, with Ibaka's 3-pointer with 5:58 to go capping a 27-8 Toronto run to give the Raptors their first lead since the 3:54 mark of the first quarter. Smart's 3-pointer with 3.9 seconds remaining handed Boston a 77-74 edge entering the final 12 minutes.

Mannix: Celtics going to be in best bargaining situation this summer

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