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More about That Hit

Tuesday, March 9, 2010, 15:44 EDT Leave a comment Go to comments

After posting about Sunday’s Matt Cooke hit on Bruins forward Marc Savard on YouTube last night, I heard some local sports radio guys this morning discussing the incident. The concensus was that it Cooke had used an elbow, not the shoulder. Based on what I had watched, I disagreed—until I saw the replays about a half dozen times on a wide-screen TV.

The ambiguity arises from the medium-high camera angle often used in hockey to capture a wide view of the ice from end to end. It isn’t the best angle for noticing the movement of Cooke’s arm, especially because his forward motion and the lifting of the elbow were toward the camera and the view is partially blocked by Savard. Unfortunately, I can’t find clearer video online or a sequence of good photographs to illustrate what I’m talking about. The only thing I can suggest to those who wish to study it further is to try to catch the replay on a television where the image is much clearer.

If in fact there was upward motion of Cooke’s elbow, as the replay seems to me to show, it would shed a bit more light onto reports that Savard sustained a jaw injury in addition to the concussion. It would also means that the hit wasn’t just vicious and thuggish, it was also illegal.

But even if you give Cooke the benefit of the doubt and assert that he leaned in with his shoulder to deliver a legal check, what is beyond dispute is his intention to hit Savard in the head. Savard was slightly down after having taken a shot, and Cooke came in from the side to hit him after the fact. Perhaps it’s time for the NHL to grapple with the issue of intentional hits to the head, whatever body part the aggressor uses.

Categories: sports
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  1. Tuesday, November 16, 2010, 12:27 EDT at 12:27

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