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Campbell lets Cooke skate free

03.10.10 at 3:55 pm ET
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NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell announced Wednesday afternoon that Penguins forward Matt Cooke will not be penalized for his hit to Marc Savard’s head Sunday that left the Bruins center with a concussion. Campbell noted that he did not suspend Philadelphia’s Mike Richards for a similar hit on Florida’s David Booth in October. That hit caused Booth to miss 45 games.

Campbell said that if proposed new rules are in place next season, Cooke would have received a suspension.

Prior to the decision, Cooke spoke with reporters following Pittsburgh’s practice and expressed concern for Savard. “I made efforts to contact him,” Cooke said, according to the team’s website. “I did as much as I could.”

Asked what he thought while watching a replay of the hit, Cooke said: “I didn’€™t see anything different than the way it happened in the game. I tried to finish my check.”

Added Cooke: “I think there needs to be black and white rules because my hit was technically within the rulebook. No one likes to see anybody get hurt, whether it is your team or somebody else’€™s. It’€™s an unfortunate part of our game with the speed it is played at now. I think [general managers] are having a meeting right now. The important thing is finding out what the right wording or rule is. Hopefully something comes out of it.”

Penguins coach Dan Bylsma also weighed in on the situation. “I think no one likes to see the severity of that injury,” he said. “Nobody likes to see a player down on the ground like that. I hope that I go the rest of my games on the bench not seeing something like that again. It’€™s a difficult situation for players to be in. I know Savard is going to try and score a goal, and Matt Cooke is going to try and go out and stop a guy from scoring a goal when there is five minutes left to go in the game, and you’€™re up 2-1. That’€™s the nature of our game and at the speed we play, it’€™s the physicality of our game. Those are great things about our game, and it’€™s tough. I think we’€™ve tried to do it in the past and it’€™s still gray. It’€™s just something that we’€™ve talked about for a while now. We’€™re still working on it and still trying to come up with verbiage that is clarified for players with the puck and players without the puck.”

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