“I don’t care if the leading scorer on your team is a genocidal maniac you stand up for him. I don’t care if Mussolini himself is leading the team in goals, you always take offense to a thug on the other team going after your star player. ”
– Michael Felger
In a Monday radio interview with 590 The Fan in Toronto, NHL head disciplinarian Colin Campbell firmly stated Matt Cooke’s hit on Marc Savard in Sunday’s Bruins-Penguins game was legal. When asked if he saw Cooke’s elbow hit Savard in the head Campbell replied, “No. Not at all”. Savard suffered a Grade 2 concussion as a result of the hit and could miss the remainder of the season.
Felger: “Let’s say for a second it’s a clean hit. It’s all about how the Bruins responded. Even if it was a clean hit, the Bruins should have gone after Cooke and pummeled him. You don’t let your star player get hit like that even if it’s legal. They didn’t respond. They don’t have the instinct or the fire. It’s just not in their DNA. The fact that the Bruins would let Cooke get away with that dirty hit is unfortunate at the least and disgusting at the worst. Savard has been accused of being concerned only with his points by teammates on previous teams he’s played for. We haven’t had those complaints in Boston. He’s played hard and produced consistently. I hope to God the Bruins players didn’t fail to retaliate because it was Savard. I don’t care if the leading scorer on your team is a genocidal maniac you stand up for him. I don’t care if Mussolini himself is leading the team in goals, you always take offense to a thug on the other team going after your star player. ”
Mazz: “Shame on the NHL. You’re telling me that the league is going to stand by a hit like that especially at a time when they are having league meetings down in Florida? The GM’s are having meetings discussing hits to the head as we speak right now. This was an elbow. There is no question that he lifted his arm up. This was the type of hit where the head was the target. It wasn’t like he came in intending to hit him in the shoulder and Savard moved causing him to make contact with the head. This guy came from the blind side intending to hit Savard in the head. I really want to know what Campbell and the rest of the league are looking at because we have all watched the hit numerous times, from numerous angles, and at numerous speeds. It’s clear to everyone but the NHL that it’s a dirty hit Mike. For a league official to say this was a clean hit is disgusting.”
The Collin-tary: The Boston Bruins suffered through a hat-trick on Sunday. They lost 2-1 at the hands of the Pittsburgh Penguins, lost leading scorer Marc Savard for what appears to be the remainder of the season, and lost the opportunity to find their identity. Matt Cooke’s cheap shot on Savard was the opportunity for the 2009-10 Boston Bruins to come together.
Remember last year when the Bruins took on the Dallas Stars at the Garden? It began with the Stars Steve Ott taking a cheap shot at the Bruins Stephan Yelle. Shawn Thornton promptly dropped the gloves with Ott. That led to Andrew Ference leveling Ott on a clean open ice hit prompting the Stars Sean Avery to fight Ference. Ference was more than up to the challenge. Later in the game Ott took exception to a hit by Milan Lucic for which the Stars sent tough guy Shane Barch to settle the score. Thornton again stepped up to plate and pummeled Barch in a heavyweight bout.
Late in the third period the Bruins top scoring line featuring Savard and Phil Kessel went after Avery and company after Avery hit Lucic low. Marc Savard went after Sean Avery to stand up for himself, but more importantly his teammate. Your top scorer going after the opposition’s toughest tough guy is a prime example of how committed the team was last season. That single game brought the 2008-09 Boston Bruins together.
When it came time for the Bruins to return the favor to Savard on Sunday they failed to answer the bell. It’s a question now of will the Bruins hold themselves, and the Pittsburgh Penguins accountable for their actions when the two teams meet again March 18th. Seeing their most gifted offensive player get blindsided should have sparked some emotion from the Bruins, but instead serves as further proof of how soft this team really is.