While Pittsburgh LW Matt Cooke earned himself an unfavorable comparison to Sirhan Sirhan over the weekend, it’s his testy exchange with the Ottawa Sun’s Don Brennan (“Why is Pittsburgh Penguins’ Matt Cooke so interested in Don Brennan’s package?”) that’s generating attention tonight.  On Sunday, prior to Pittsburgh’s visit to Ottawa, Brennan called Cooke, “one of the sneakiest and dirtiest players in the league”, and citing Cooke’s skate-slice of Erik Karlsson’s Achilles tendon two months ago, suggested the playoff-hopeful Senators would be pressed to “resist the urge to make Cooke pay for his past — with 20,000 people in attendance urging them to do so.”

As you might expect, Cooke took exception to Brennan’s comments, and had a little chat with the sportswriter earlier today. Here’s Brennan’s version of events :

He wanted to tell me I have no balls. At first I think he said “small balls.” But by the time he had finished, and knew Penguins GM Ray Shero was listening, he had decided I had none. Oh, and I believe he also mumbled something about me having no penis before disappearing into the players-only room, which I found interesting.

I will not take this opportunity to, ahem, brag about my manhood.

Cooke accused me of hiding behind the cameras, which is funny. In scrums that large, none of us scribes can get past the guys shooting video. Besides, what exactly would I be hiding from? Cooke wanted to know why I didn’t ask any questions. It’s because I only had one, and somebody beat me to the punch. When Cooke held to his story that the Karlsson injury was a “complete freak accident,” I’d heard enough.

Again, I don’t think he was aiming for Karlsson’s Achilles, but I’ve watched the replay many times and I’m convinced he was either trying to hurt the Senators best player or he was being careless enough with his boot blade to warrant a suspension.

For the record, I kind of like Cooke, even if he isn’t as effective as he used to be. He’s controversial, which is a good thing. And yeah, he’s dirty, but that just means he’ll do anything to win. I only wish he’d answer for his actions the way real men who play his game do.

Maybe he should grow a set of his own before worrying about mine