Matt Cooke got a new job Wednesday night.
Got hit with some old accusations, too.
He was promoted to Evgeni Malkin's line in the Penguins' 4-2 victory against Ottawa at Consol Energy Center and earned an assist on James Neal's winning goal early in the third period.
That came shortly after he had sliced Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson's left Achilles with his skate in the final minute of the second.
A "complete accident," Cooke called it.
An act of carelessness, according to some of the Senators. Or malice. Or worse.
"It's Matt Cooke," Ottawa general manager Bryan Murray said. "What else should I say?"
Cooke and Karlsson, honored as the NHL's top defenseman last season, were battling near the left-wing boards in the Ottawa end when Cooke's skate came down on the back of Karlsson's left leg.
"I can't tell if it's intent to injure or not," Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson said. "He obviously catches Erik right [above] where his skate ends and where we don't have any padding."
Karlsson dropped to the ice in obvious distress, then headed directly to the locker room.
"It was the end of a penalty-kill," Cooke said. "I was at the end of a shift and [Craig Adams] took a shot and I went to the corner. ]Karlsson] and I were engaged. He went down screaming, and I didn't even know what happened.
"Obviously, I feel terrible about it. I'm not trying to do that, obviously. It's happened [to various players] a few times over the last couple of years, and it's scary."
With good reason. Less than an hour after the incident, the Senators announced the nature of Karlsson's injury and that it would have to be surgically repaired. It is not known when he will be able to resume playing. There also was no immediate indication whether the league will investigate that sequence, which did not result in a penalty.


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