Originally written on The 6th Sens  |  Last updated 11/19/14

PITTSBURGH - OCTOBER 20: Defenseman Erik Johnson #6 of the St. Louis Blues defends against left wing Matt Cooke #24 of the Pittsburgh Penguins on October 20, 2009 at Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Today is the day Matt Cooke makes his first appearance in the nation’s capital for the first time since his skate blade cut seventy-percent of Erik Karlsson’s Achilles tendon. Tonight the Senators will present their ninth annual Canadian Forces Appreciation night and depending on who you ask, this may be the only ‘presence’ the Senators will have in the building tonight when they take on the Penguins. Although Paul MacLean has affirmed that there will be no lineup changes from Saturday night (meaning Matt Kassian will dress), Guillaume Latendresse told reporters after this morning’s skate that he is playing tonight. Either coach MacStache is trying to play some mind games and sucker Dan Bylsma into dressing a useless pugilist like Steve MacIntyre or Latendresse is confused here. It wouldn’t take much to convince me that either alternative is the correct one.    Fortunately for the Red Scarf Union and however, it appears as though Cooke will play tonight; meaning all of the hard work and preparation that has gone into the Matt Cooke Hatefest has not been for naught. The Senators fan group will descend upon Scotiabank Place tonight to chant anti-Cooke songs and showcase their wanted posters that depict Cooke as the ‘dirtiest player in the NHL’. From the CBC.ca article linked to above: “Absolutely, Cooke is our No. 1 public enemy. But don’t get us wrong. The Leafs, in our books, continue to suck, big-time. “We’ve seen some nasty hits against our guys, but none have savagely attacked one of our most cherished players and lacerated his Achilles tendon. “The Cooke Hatefest will be a memorable one; although different from the Heatley Hatefest. Our members are pumped and itching to let Cooke know that we not only dislike him, we hate him!” ~ Denis-Paul Cloutier (pictured below). …And, there’s more: “There will be quite a few of us carrying that [poster] around. I’m also printing some in the 2½-foot range. We’ve been advocating for people to make their own signs but at the pre-game party there will be a station with Bristol board, stencils and markers to make your own sign. “You can chant and everyone hears that, but if some of our signs can get caught on TV, then the message is clearly seen." ~ David Kerr (pictured below) As easy as it is to look at the situation and admonish the fans and owner who can’t seem to let, what probably was an unintended incident, go, booing the hell out of a guy with the track record like Cooke has would probably be a hell of a lot of fun; provided of course, that you don’t cross the line. Just remember guys, no Sirhan Sirhan signs! Whatever does or doesn't happen tonight, hopefully the Senators know what is at stake and prioritize putting the two-points on the line ahead of doing whatever it takes to cave Cooke's face in.  But in all seriousness, a little word of advice for Cooke --  if someone asks you for your gloves and bucket in between periods and it’s not your team’s regular equipment managers, odds are, it’s one of the Euge’s cronies trying to get some of your DNA.  
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