At 7:39 of the third period of Pittsburgh's 8-3 win over New York, Penguins forward Matt Cooke elbowed Artem Anisimov in the head a split-second after the rookie Rangers forward made a backhand pass over the blue line and was looking the other way. Anisimov's helmet was dislodged and he crumbled to the ice. When Anisimov got to the bench, he was visibly shook up and waved smelling salts under his nose to try and collect himself.
The 5-11 Cooke, who left his feet to deliver the blow to the 6-4 Anisimov, only received a two-minute minor penalty for interference.
After the game, Tortorella said the solution was easy. He seemed to be calling not just for stiff punishment for hits to the head, but also the end of the instigator penalty.
"There's a big thing this year with these headshots and what the league is going to do," said the Rangers head coach. "To me it's pretty simple: change the rulebook. I'm not sure what's going to happen (regarding a suspension for Cooke). He leaves his feet. It's an absolute head shot."
"Some of these guys that go about doing that and have no fear at all, as far as maybe a little retribution, it will continue," said Tortorella. "That's why our game is more violent right now. I think guys hide behind that rulebook.
"The linesman jumps in when someone is trying to take care of business. That should have been left alone. This is where our game is screwed up, as far as I'm concerned. There's just no respect in these types of situations. I think the rulebook has a little bit to do with that."
UPDATE: The NHL has suspended Cooke two games for what has been called "a deliberate check to the head area."