Time to limit dirty players 

March, 8, 2010

If nothing else, Pittsburgh Penguins winger Matt Cooke is consistent. There's never a vulnerable opponent he doesn't take advantage of with an elbow or a slash or a push from behind.

Cooke was up to his old tricks again Sunday, sending unsuspecting Boston Bruins C Marc Savard to the hospital -- concussed -- with a blindside, shoulder-to-the-head, fly-by cheap shot in the third period of the Pens' 2-1 win.

As usual, in these types of cases, the offender's team will come up with a wide variety of excuses as to why it really wasn't that bad of an act, while the victim's team will scream bloody murder. Those same folks, interestingly, can change roles whenever the situation is reversed.

While seeing a player like Savard get carted off the ice on a stretcher is nothing to laugh about, the postgame posturing has become slapstick.

E.J. Hradek

Senior Writer, ESPN The Magazine
E.J. Hradek is a senior writer at ESPN The Magazine, joining the staff prior to its launch in 1998. He began covering hockey as a writer/editor for Hockey Illustrated in 1989.