many suspensions is that now?
Colin Campbell: Hi Matt. Welcome to the hearing. Did you have any trouble finding a parking spot?
Matt Cooke: Nah, I just parked out front in the "Reserved for Matt Cooke" space.
Campbell: Great. So I've watched the replay of this Ryan McDonagh hit a dozen times. It sure looks like you're intentionally targeting a defenceless opponent with a flagrant elbow to the head. How can you possibly defend your actions?
Cooke: Um... it was an accident?
Campbell: An accident.
Cooke (hesitantly): ... Yes?
A long pause. Campbell stares at Cooke intently before finally breaking the silence.
Campbell: Great, well thanks for clearing that up. Zero games. Sorry for troubling you.
Campbell and Murphy begin gathering up their papers and prepare to leave the room. Cooke looks around in confusion.
Gary Bettman: Uh, everyone? Could we hold on just a second? Maybe we could talk about this one a little more?
Campbell and Murphy stop in the doorway.
Campbell: Well, sure, I guess. If you want to.
Bettman: You know, just since we have the room booked and all.
Campbell (returning to his seat): OK. Well, since I've already subjected Matt to in-depth questioning... Mario, do you have anything to say?
Mario Lemieux: Do I have to?
Lemieux (sighing): Fine. Look, he's on my team. He's one of my players, technically. So... you know... don't suspend him, I guess.
Campbell: That's very helpful, thanks.
Lemieux: I need to leave now.
Lemieux bolts out the door.
Campbell: Thanks Mario. Our next witness is scheduled to be... hmm, what does it say on my sheet here... "a world-renowned and completely impartial hockey expert, named... Dr. Wario Mellieux".
A man who looks oddly like Mario Lemieux wearing a moustache made out of duct tape walks into the room.
Campbell: Dr. Mellieux, your thoughts?
Mellieux: Matt Cooke is an abomination, a scumbag, an embarrassment, everything that's wrong with the game. I hate him. He should be banned for life.
Mellieux: And also, he shouldn't count against the salary cap while he's suspended.
They're interrupted by a figure poking his head in the door.
Trevor Gillies: You wanted to see me, Colin?
Campbell: Uh... no.
Gillies (looking down at a newspaper with headline reading "Hockey's biggest cheapshot artist facing suspension yet again"): Oh. Oops, my mistake.
Campbell: No problem Trevor. Talk to you in a few weeks.
Gillies: Sure thing. By the way, whoever's driving the Mercedes Benz with the "MARIO66" vanity plates, I smashed into it from behind. Sorry.
Mellieux: Son of a...
Delivery guy (entering room): OK, who ordered the large pizza with extra cheese and...
Matt Cooke leaps to his feet and begins elbowing the delivery guy repeatedly in the head.
Cooke: Oops... my bad. Sorry everyone. Force of habit.
Bettman: Don't worry about it. Hey, at least you didn't slam his face into a stanchion!
Zdeno Chara (poking his head through a window): I heard that!
Cooke: Aren't we on the third floor?
Bettman: Never mind that. Look Matt, your hit was very dangerous, but you're here to defend yourself. So go ahead, tell us why we shouldn't throw the book at you.
Cooke: Look, I know I've made mistakes. I'm a physical player and yes, I step over the line sometimes. But so do lots of players, and most of them don't get big suspensions.
Campbell: Exactly. I went easy on Dany Heatley and Brad Marchand, and I didn't suspend Chara at all...
Mellieux (under his breath): Or that jerk who took out Marc Savard.
Campbell: Shush. The point is, plenty of players do dirty things without getting suspended. Why start getting tough now, right?
Cooke: Exactly! I mean, honestly, is hitting one guy in the head really any more dirty that smashing a guy in the face repeatedly with your elbow pad, the way Gregory Campbell did against Montreal...
The room immediately goes silent.
Cooke: Uh... I mean...
Everyone is too horrified to speak.
Campbell (calmly): I'm sorry, Matt, could you repeat that? Any more dirty than who?
Cooke (deer in headlights): Uh... uh...
Campbell (nonchalantly rolling up his sleeves): Everyone leave the room please.
Murphy sprints for the door. Dr. Mellieux leaves his chair spinning, while Bettman leaps over the table. The pizza delivery guy struggles to commando-crawl out the door, which is then quickly slammed and padlocked shut. The group huddles fearfully in the hallway for several moments.
Campbell (from inside the room): Incoming!
An airborne Matt Cooke smashes through the window and lands in the hallway. Campbell steps through the broken glass and pauses over Cook's dazed body.
Campbell (dusting himself off): When he comes to, tell him he's done until the second round of the playoffs. After all, we have to send a message that there are certain lines that just can't be crossed.
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