Pittsburgh “I don’t use (Michelle’s health) as an excuse for anything that happened last season,” he said. “I’m responsible for my actions out there.” Still, Michelle described her husband as “exhausted, not himself.” “He wasn’t used to this,” she said. “Before, it was him playing hockey and me being home with the kids, and it wasn’t that way when I was sick. He wouldn’t let it be that way. He was never getting any rest.” He saw a light in mid-March, though. Michelle attended her first game since the Classic. She, her mom and a friend were at Consol Energy Center when the Penguins faced the New York Rangers in an afternoon contest March 20. That was the last game Cooke played. “We finally had a chance to take a deep breath,” he said. “Michelle was finally going back to a game and …” He paused to reflect on the McDonagh hit. “Here I am trying to be strong enough to help her through this, and now I needed her support.”

I suppose these Matt Cooke-as-John Merrick stories were inevitable (“I am not an animal…I am a human be-innggg!!!”), what with the little piece of shit returning back to action after what amounted to a 17-game suspension for this cheap-shot on the Rangers’ Ryan McDonagh late last season. How he’s “reflected” and “thought long and hard” and how he never “tries to hurt anybody” and that this year he’ll be a “changed man”.

Of course, we here in Boston know that it’s all a crock of shit.  We won’t be buying any of the above claptrap, this article, or any other Penguins PR masquerading as a hockey column—even if the writer implies Mrs. Cooke’s near-death experience was somehow the impetus for him trying to end yet another NHL player’s career in its prime.

But the NHL doesn’t escape unscathed here. They have blood on their hands as well for any damages that Cooke incurred after the league allowed him to go unpunished for his ruthless elbow that began the demise of not only Marc Savard’s career but just his normal everyday living (sorry, but any Bs fans expecting Savard to play again are as delusional as people thinking that Cooke can be a clean AND effective NHL forward). Had Colin Campbell or his boss decided to put their foot down rather than puss out with a lame excuse, then perhaps the incorrigible Cooke doesn’t give McDonagh one strike in his concussion count and forever negatively alter his career.

Cooke is garbage and I hope that these so-called “changes” have emasculated him more than The Florist did  Stephen MacRay. Here’s hoping he loses his so-called “edge”, starts mentally questioning himself, loses whatever confidence he has, then finds himself signing post-game autographs for Dwight Schrute. Quite simply, he doesn’t deserve to be in the best league on the planet, not after the way he’s run roughshod overs his alleged peers for the last several years. Yes, I’m openly rooting against the guy. Fuck him. The more he plays, the higher the likelihood the NHL ends up with its first on-ice Ray Brower. And that’s the last thing anybody wants to see.