Michael Russo's short takes: Nov. 25, a Russo Rant

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 24, 2007 - 2:21 PM

In 13 seasons covering the NHL, I witnessed the Vancouver Canucks' Matt Cooke execute one of the dirtiest hits I've ever seen Wednesday.

With Wild defenseman Nick Schultz leaving the defensive zone, Cooke, 15 feet in front, skated across. Instead of checking Schultz shoulder-to-shoulder, Cooke disgustingly bent down for a low-bridge check aimed at Schultz's knees.

Cooke can say it was an old-fashioned hip check. Have you ever seen a hip check that wasn't meant to stop a forward from entering the offensive zone?

This was dirty, plain and simple. Luckily, Schultz saw Cooke coming and prepared for the despicable hit.

The NHL has an attempt-to-injure major penalty. Why does a player have to be injured for that penalty to be called if the "attempt" was there? In the NHL, Schultz apparently has to be taken off on a stretcher.

"I was ready for Cooke to hit me clean, not to take me out low," Schultz said. "You do that, your only intent is going after a guy's knee. It's frustrating. But that's why [Cooke's] the way he is. That's what he does.

"Seems the league is more concerned about head shots. I mean [Mattias] Ohlund only gets four games for slashing Mikko [Koivu] in the leg, not the head? The injury could have been career-ending for Mikko just the same as if he got hit in the head."

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