Also, you have to wonder if the Senators — looking at Chris Neil here — are going to target one of the Penguins' star players? The Pens are in a bit of a hard place with this. On one hand, it would be nice to get at least get Malkin or Martin some playing time. But the Senators organization is completely unstable and is seeking retribution against the Pens for the Karlsson injury.
Here are some possible options:
Troll The Senators
Dress Matt Cooke but don't play him. Have him sit on the bench and yell at Senator players. Guaranteed one of the Sens couldn't resist and would attack Matt Cooke on the bench.
Don't even bring Matt Cooke to Ottawa
Like we said, Ottawa fans are beyond unstable about this hatred. So why even bring Matt Cooke to the arena? You could still troll the Senators and wear a Matt Cooke patch.
Play no one at all
Steve Mac was already called up Friday (probably for this game). Just play him, Tanner Glass, Craig Adams, Beau Bennett, and TK. Joe Vitale may see 20 minutes of ice time.
Have Matt Cooke attack Eugene Melnyk
Maybe the answer is to throw more gasoline on the fire. Imagine if Matt Cooke attacked Eugene Melnyk in his suite. No way Melnyk would see it coming.
Cooke could just say he was having a bad week, and all would be forgotten.
Edit: That excuse only works in Boston.
You probably can't hide from this stuff, so guess we'll probably have to deal with one of the Senators doing something stupid. As long as it results in no one of note getting suspended or injured, that is fine. Actually, it would be hilarious if a Senators player gets suspended and then the Pens and Sens square off in the playoffs. This game already has a bad feeling around it, and it would be a shame for something as dumb as butthurt Senators to affect the bigger picture.