Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said it is "inevitable" that players will get hurt at practice occasionally. When it happens these days -- as it did with winger Matt Cooke during a session this morning at Southpointe -- there are no trainers ready to help or doctors on call. Because of the lockout, players are on their own.
So when Cooke's forehead got cut by Crosby's stick blade about 20 minutes into practice, his teammates attended to him. They got him a towel and skated with him to the door, where Crosby followed him off of the ice and into the locker room to try to help. Crosby said a first aid kit at the arena had some gauze, and that was put on Cooke's cut, but they could not find the bandage strips the players are used to getting in such situations.
A couple other players later went to the locker room to check on Cook. Eventually, but before practice ended, Cooke left with all of his gear to go to a doctor, and he is expected to be OK, if probably scarred.
No Penguins staffers are able to have contact with the players during the lockout. Crosby likened it to the days when they were kids playing pickup hockey and someone got hurt. Except these days, the players don't have Mommy to run home to, either.
WARNING: We are going to describe Cooke's injury in more detail than we did on Twitter and certainly in more detail than you will see in the Saturday Post-Gazette. Because, you know, this blog is sort of like cable. The description is a little gruesome. If you are squeamish, don't read beyond this paragraph.
Last chance to stop reading.
Cooke was bent over, probably reaching for the puck, when the tip of Crosby's blade got under Cooke's visor. It took a chunk out of Cooke's forehead, right in the cyclops area. In fact, the chunk was stuck to the inside of Cooke's visor. It's not considered to be a serious cut, according to his teammates, but because of the nature of it -- a wide gash rather than a split -- it might not be something that can be stitched up.
Cooke didn't speak to anyone on his way out, but by all accounts he was pretty ticked off at the situation, which is understandable. Not that Crosby intended to injure his teammate. Crosby said he believed Cooke has a doctor to go to locally.
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