That message is not that the team is in deep trouble if Sidney Crosby doesn't return this season. While that may be true, you will never hear the team surrender or say they can't win without their star.
No, the message the Pittsburgh Penguins are sending their critics, both in the NHL and outside of it, is that Matt Cooke is an important part of their team and they don't care what anyone thinks of them for employing him.
|Any player who does this to
Alfredsson is OK in my book.
The proof is in the letter on Cooke's jersey the past two games. Cooke has been wearing the "A" after Brooks Orpik was knocked out for four weeks with a broken finger. The team is already without their captain (Crosby) and one of their alternates (Evgeni Malkin). Orpik, Jordan Staal and Chris Kunitz were then bearing the "A", but Orpik and Kunitz are out, so Cooke gets it.
If this team had any concern what the league thought of them for employing Cooke they wouldn't give him a leadership position. But Cooke is an important part of the team and head coach Dan Bylsma and owner Mario Lemieux don't care that the rest of the league thinks Cooke doesn't belong in the league.
It was the right choice for the Pens. Cooke was a captain for the Vancouver Canucks for a bit when he played up there, and is a leader in the Pens locker room.
You could also argue that there is no one else on the team worthy of the "A". After Cooke, there are not a lot of players who have been on the team more than a year or weren't just called up from the AHL this season.
It's a good way to show Cooke the team supports him despite all the hate that has been thrown his way the past year.
UFO - Lights Out in London