Former players share story of the Bruins and Pens agreeing to Shawn Thornton fighting Matt Cooke after dirty hit

Cooper Godin
November 17, 2023  (12:13)

In 2010, during a game between Boston and Pittsburgh, Penguins forward Matt Cooke delivered a massive and dangerous hit to the head of Marc Savard, which nearly ended his career.

Savard was eventually able to return to game action and went on to play in seven games during the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs, but the next time the Bruins and Penguins met, Matt Cooke had to answer the bell by facing Shawn Thornton.
Dale Arnold, a former broadcaster on NESN, was on 'Dropping the Gloves' podcast this week and said that a trio of Boston Bruins met with Penguins forward Bill Guerin about Matt Cooke needing to answer the bell and to fight Shawn Thornton on his first shift.
"In the aftermath of the Matt Cooke incident, where Matt Cooke basically ended Marc Savard's career, the next time they played at the Garden, Marc Recchi, Zdeno Chara and Shawn Thornton met with Bill Guerin underneath the stands and they said to Bill Guerin to go in the room and you tell Matt Cooke, 'he fights Shawn Thornton on the first shift or this game is going to get ugly quick and we're going to be all over the SportsCenter highlights for all the wrong reasons'. Bill Guerin, to his credit, said 'you're right' and went into the room, he said to Matt Cooke, 'first shift, you gotta fight Shawn Thornton.'" Arnold said.

He went on to add, "It had been handled by men, like men, in a way that the people that made a living that way could respect, could honour and it was over, it was done. Didn't mean they liked Matt Cooke after that. It didn't mean that they liked what he did to Marc Savard anymore. It just meant 'okay, we handled it, it's over.'"

Somehow, Matt Cooke avoided any supplemental discipline from the hit on Marc Savard and wasn't suspended whatsoever. Now, if that happened in today's NHL, there's no doubt that the league's Department of Player Safety would've handed him at least 5-10 games, if not more.
For Marc Savard, he returned to play in the 2010-11 season before suffering a career-ending concussion following a hit from Colorado Avalanche defenceman Matt Hunwick and while this hit was clean, his head hit off the glass and would never appear in an NHL game again.
Former players share story of the Bruins and Pens agreeing to Shawn Thornton fighting Matt Cooke after dirty hit

If Cooke's hit on Savard happened in 2023, how many games would he have received?

1-5 games511.6 %
6-10 games1227.9 %
10+ games2046.5 %
See Results614 %
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