Penguins LW Matt Cooke has received the longest suspension in franchise history and is now the fourth player in NHL history to be suspended for the rest of a season. The official release from the NHL after a long hearing between Hockey Operations and Cooke in Toronto this afternoon:
TORONTO (March 21, 2011) — Pittsburgh Penguins forward Matt Cooke has been suspended for the remainder of the regular season (10 games) and the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for delivering an elbow to the head of New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh in NHL game #1080 yesterday, the National Hockey League announced today. Cooke will forfeit $219,512.20 in salary.
“Mr. Cooke, a repeat offender, directly and unnecessarily targeted the head of an opponent who was in an unsuspecting and vulnerable position,” said NHL Senior Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell. ”This isn’t the first time this season that we have had to address dangerous behavior on the ice by Mr. Cooke, and his conduct requires an appropriately harsh response.”
Cooke’s most recent suspension was for four games on Feb. 9, 2011 and under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement forfeits his salary based on the number of games in the season (82), rather than the number of days (186). The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.
The incident occurred at 4:36 of the third period and Cooke was assessed a major penalty for elbowing and a game misconduct.
Cooke will miss Pittsburgh’s remaining 10 regular-season games and be ineligible for the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.