Cooke reacts to non-action from NHL, and is Tyler Kennedy in danger of losing his spot?

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THOUGHTS ON COOKE

Those Penguins fans who heard my radio appearance Wednesday night on the “The Gregg Gianotti Show” may be surprised to have heard that I supported the NHL’s decision not to suspend LW Matt Cooke for his hit on Bruins C Marc Savard last Sunday. The hit was legal, period and end of story. It won’t be the end of the story, but it should be.

Also, suspending players for a legal hit is not a move the NHL should make. Suspending players after a legal hit because of their reputation – as reaction from players around the league seemingly would have liked to have seen happen with Cooke – is also a move from which the NHL should steer clear.

THOUGHTS FROM COOKE

Cooke addressed the NHL’s lack of disciplinary action and GMs’ proposed head-shot rules after a morning practice Thursday at RBC Center:

Q: Were you surprised by the NHL’s lack of action against you?

A: A: I prepared for the league to make a decision; either way I was going to have to deal with it. They did their homework, obviously, with the timing of the GM meetings. Right now my thoughts are with Savard and I hope he gets a speedy recovery, because it wasn’t my intention to hurt him.

Q: Have you made contact with Savard?

A: I went to as big of lengths as I could to make sure he got a message from me… (but) I didn’t speak with him.

Q: Do you feel you’ll be a marked man now?

A: I don’t know if it’s any different than it was before.

Q: Have you had a chance to read the proposed rule, and will it make it any clearer?

A: I hope that it does bring clarification to what’s allowed and what’s not. I know they worked hard on it. I know there are some strict concerns. I hope it brings clarification.

Q: Does it?

A: Yeah, I think it does. I think it protects guys in certain areas of the ice.

Q: Would it be easier to have an outright ban on blows to the head?

A: My personal opinion on that is the speed of the game is so great it’s impossible to do that. I think they are going in the right direction.

Q: Do you see the rule as something that will make players think twice?

A: I think it’s going to make sure you’re in that area, and that guys are more protected.

AT THE DISCO

Highlights from head coach Dan Bylsma’s post-practice scrum:

— G Brent Johnson will start at Carolina, making G Marc-Andre Fleury the guy charged with helping the Penguins beat the Devils for the first time this season Friday at New Jersey.

— “The Nightmare Line” of Cooke-C Jordan Staal-RW Tyler Kennedy may not be a sure bet to stay together given the Penguins’ newfound forward depth. “We have a lot of guys in our lineup playing very well,” Bylsma said. “Pascal Dupuis is playing the best hockey I’ve seen since he’s been a Penguin. Mike Rupp is playing really well. Craig Adams is in a penalty-killing role, and he’s a big part of that; he’s playing well physically. Max Talbot is getting back to being Max in terms of work ethic, determination and tenacity on the ice. That’s creating a lot of competition on our team right now, and we have that situation tonight with a healthy complement of forwards, minus Eric Godard. Yes, there’s movement in our lineup.” Kennedy is without a goal in 16 games, and he has scored just four since opening the season with five in nine games.

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