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The Matt Cooke-Erik Karlsson incident Wednesday night was a popular topic of conversation after the Penguins' game-day skate in Winnipeg.
And while coach Dan Bylsma made it clear he empathizes with the Senators over losing their best player for the balance of the season because of a sliced Achilles tendon, he also was adamant that Cooke does not deserve the abuse he has received in some quarters.
"If anyone understands the injury to a good player, we've had a number of them in the last few years, so I understand their pain, where they're coming from," Bylsma said. "It's an unfortunate play that happens."
"There are people making comments who haven't really seen (Cooke) play the last two years. There's no question he's made an adjustment. You can see it in his game.
"You can see it in numerous hits he's had this year, where he's adjusted. I don't think people really watch that closely. It's easier to jump on and talk about previous history.
"There's definitely been a change in Matt's game and the way he approaches the game and the way he hits in the game. If people watched the last 100 games or so, it's evident."
Cooke, meanwhile, stressed today that despite the incident with Karlsson, he has no intention of straying from the physical style that is the key to his game.
"I can't (change)," he said. "I still have to have that element (of physical play) to have success in this league."
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