One of these things is not like the other. One the one hand we’ve got a classy defenseman in Mark Stuart, on the other we’ve got a sometimes 3rd line goon in Matt Cooke. Stu’s record is impeccable; his fight card shows that while he picks his fights intelligently, he’s not afraid to back down from one, and has won or fought to a draw 6 times out of 6 this year. He particularly likes to beat on Flyers, which is endearing to everyone. Stu is so manly that he even played with a broken sternum – STU FEELS NO PAIN. (Turn this interview up and enjoy). Probably the only thing he has going against him is the fact that his hair seemingly grows at the rate of bamboo. Friendly caveman!
On the other side, we’ve got Matt Cooke. It goes without saying – if there was ever a repeat offender, it’s Matt Cooke; first a headshot on Artem Anisimov, then Public Enemy Scott Walker, and most recently, Marc Savard. Luckily the first two were able to get up and walk away. Not so with Savard. Surprisingly for all these awful hits, Cooke’s fight card is surprisingly empty! He actually let Ilya Kovalchuk beat on him, as well as two Rangers, probably defending their teammate Anisimov. The only guy he could beat was Rob Niedermeyer. Not impressed, sir. There is no sensible argument in favor of what Cooke did, and with the recent rash of flubbed suspensions and clownshoes wheel-of-justice shenanigans from Colin Campbell, it’s time for the Bruins to take this into their own hands – with intelligence.
Like I need to emphasize it any more – we’ve got an epic showdown on our hands tonight. Possibly the game of the season, aside from the Winter Classic. A very important question will be answered here tonight. Will the Bruins finally snap out of this seemingly season-long coma and start making teams answer for their failings, or will they just roll over and play dead? It very well might be on Mark Stuart’s shoulders to go out and pummel Cooke. If not Stuart, then Lucic, or Thornton, or even Chara. It’s not going to be a circus of constant fighting – but they need to set the tone of the game with hard hits and good goals, and an early challenge to Cooke. With the fall of Philly and the win-streak of Montreal right now, Pittsburgh could very well be who the Bruins see first-round, and this game needs to set the tone for that potential series – a lesson to the Penguins not to mess with this team. If the Bruins come into this game weak and looking like their inconsistent selves, and end up facing the Penguins in the first round? 4-game sweep, I’m calling it now. If the Bruins send a clear message with this game, well then – there’s a little more hope to be had.
180 minutes to game time. Go Bruins.