Sens owner believes Cooke cut Karlsson on purpose
Forensic pathologist says it's difficult to establish intent with a single wound, especially in sport
The Ottawa Senators are trying to find out whether Pittsburgh Penguin Matt Cooke intentionally sliced all-star defenseman Erik Karlsson's Achilles tendon last month, according to the team's owner.
It was a moment no Sens fan will soon forget. During a game on the eve of Valentines' Day, Cooke took Karlsson into the boards and cut him with his skate, ending the young Swede's season.
In an interview with Sportsnet's FAN590 Radio on Wednesday, Eugene Melnyk was being asked about his thoughts on the role of enforcers and fighting in the game, and said he believes Cooke slammed Karlsson into the boards and injured him on purpose.
"You know what? I'm going to prove whether it was intentional or not. … You watch," Melnyk said. "It may be public, it may not be public, but it's between me and the league. I think it was intentional, but you have to be able to prove it, and from all the television angles that we saw, you can't see it. It was so fast.
"But the force that that skate had to go in through … a sock, a sub sock, then into your skin, muscle, heath, and then to get to your tendon? Man, either this guy's really good or very lucky at being able to do that."
For Twitter reactions to Melnyk's theory, click here.
Forensic doctors are gathering evidence in Toronto, Melnyk said, and once they're finished he'll present the information to the NHL's top brass.
"I am putting it together," Melnyk said.
"If I'm wrong, I'm wrong."
Melnyk didn't say when the investigation might finish.
Forensic pathologist says it's hard to establish intent
Dr. Chris Milroy, a forensic pathologist at The Ottawa Hospital, conducts autopsies on people who die suddenly and unexpectedly but also identifies and interprets injuries on the living in criminal and civil cases. He said proving intent will be difficult.
"The presence or absence of an injury … doesn't really allow you to determine the state of mind of somebody," Milroy told CBC News.
"Now, you can clearly — with certain injuries — you may be able to legitimately say … they must have been intentionally inflicted."
For example, Milroy said it's clear that someone with 50 stab wounds on their back must have been victimized intentionally.
But with an injury like Karlsson's, a single wound, it becomes a lot harder to establish intent.
"As a general rule, when you have a single injury, it can be difficult to say whether it was intentional or accidental — especially, if I may say so, in a sporting situation," Milroy said.
If asked to look into Karlsson's wound, Milroy said he'd likely only be able to prove if it was a skate that caused the injury.
"I think it would be difficult to determine, as a forensic pathologist, whether there was an intent or whether it was accidental," Milroy said.