The Matt Cooke Rule

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So the NHLPA has gone ahead and approved the much talked about new rule outlawing “blindside hits to the head”. Colin Campbell is relieved because now he can start issuing suspensions to players who try kill other players on the ice. You hear that, evil-doers? No more getting off on a technichal loophole. You try and end someone’s career out there, well, you’re going to sit down a few games, that’s for sure.

I’m sure this will be a great consolation to Marc Savard when he eventually finds out about it. As of now, he’s spending his days in a sound proofed, lightless isolation tank because any and all sensory input causes massive migraine headaches and uncontrolable vomiting. Whether it’s post-concussion syndrome or the thought that his playing career might be forever changed by a vicious cheap shot from a known, repeat offender who should have been dealt with long ago, it’s likely a certain amount of depression has set in. Imagine him slack-jawed, unshaven, black circles under his eyes on the edge of a bed struggling to put both feet on the floor and afraid to open the blinds to let any light in. Probably doesn’t even know if it’s night or day anymore.

Feel better, Marc. The NHL now recognizes that it’s not okay to skate over and blast guys in the temple at 90 miles and hour.

Seriously, folks, if Colin Campbell needed this rule to be able to properly police such blatant, reckless beahaviour in the game whose players it is his job to protect, than he is a man without the adequate intelligence and integrity for that position. Period.

One interesting aspect of this story is that, apparently, the league office has sent out a DVD with clips to illustrate exactly what sort of hits this new rule will ban. I’d love to get a copy of that. I just need to know if the Cooke hit from March 7th in Pittsburgh is on it. If so, would that not be the ultimate in bitter, putrid irony?

You’ll excuse me for my cynicism in this matter. My opinions are a bit coloured by the damage that has already been done by the NHL’s past disciplinary failures and making things right now is indeed a bittersweet pill to swallow. I can’t help thinking of a man who’s fortunes, and the potential success of his team, have been irrevocably altered and the perpetrator who wasn’t punished for it.

It was another Socrates who said it.

“Nothing is to be preferred before justice.”

I’m sorry but, in this case, “Better late than never” just doesn’t cut it for me.

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