Penguins' Cooke suspended for 4 games
Pittsburgh Penguins forward Matt Cooke was suspended four games by the NHL on Wednesday for a hit the previous night on a Columbus player.
Cooke drove Fedor Tyutin of the Blue Jackets from behind into the boards during the first period in Tuesday night's 4-1 win for Columbus.
Tyutin later told reporters it was the hardest he's ever been hit from behind, while Cooke said Tyutin clearly saw him coming and could have gotten himself out of a vulnerable position.
It is the latest suspension for the agitator, who's frequently been in trouble for illegal and grey-area hits.
"Two factors were considered in reaching this decision: Cooke delivered a forceful hit from behind on an unsuspecting opponent; also, he is considered a repeat offender under the League’s supplemental discipline rules," NHL Senior Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell said in a statement.
In the previous game, Cooke drew the ire of the Washington Capitals for a knee-on-knee hit on superstar Alexander Ovechkin, but escaped a suspension.
Cooke has been suspended on three other occasions in his career, not including a blindside hit on Marc Savard late last season that helped lead the NHL to some rethinking on headshots.
With Pittsburgh having a light schedule next week, Cooke won't be eligible to return until a Feb. 20 game against Chicago.
He also forfeits just under $89,000 US in salary.