Is Matt Cooke back to being Matt Cooke?
Timing -- it’s everything.
On the same day ESPN’s Scott Burnside profiled Pittsburgh forward Matt Cooke as a changed man -- “Cooke seems to have replaced his seek-and-destroy muscle memory with something else entirely,” Burnside wrote -- the noted Pens agitator allegedly slew-footed Brad Richards in a 4-1 win over the Rangers.
The allegations of slew-footing were instantaneous (most notably from TSN’s Darren Dreger and Newsday’s Steve Zipay) but there was no call on the ice. Cooke actually made it through the entire contest unpenalized.
As for Richards? Hard to say if he shrugged it off as incidental contact or if he was genuinely hurt on the play. He didn’t see much ice after receiving the hit -- just five more shifts, including a mere three in the third period -- but that might’ve had to do with his performance rather than health. Richards was on the ice for Richard Park’s eventual game-winning goal and looked out of sorts.
Coach John Tortorella said he didn’t want to analyze individual performances after the game when asked specifically about [Marc] Staal and Brad Richards. But he acknowledged that Richards’ game wasn’t spot on right now (he was a minus-1 in 16:46 though he won 12 of 16 faceoffs).
As for supplemental discipline for Cooke? No chance, according to Dreger:
All that’s left now is to debate the merits of Cooke’s alleged slew-foot in the comments section. So have at it, PHT faithful!