NHL suspends Wild's Matt Cooke 7 games for knee-on-knee hit

Apr 23, 8:58 PM

The NHL has suspended Minnesota Wild forward Matt Cooke seven games for his knee-on-knee hit on Colorado Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie.

[Courtesy NHL.com]

Due to the length of the suspension, one game longer than the six-game appeal threshold, Cooke has 48 hours to appeal to commissioner Gary Bettman. And if the suspension isn't fully served in the playoffs, it'll carry over into next season. 

May 9, 3:41 PM

Wild plan to ensure Matt Cooke's head is 'in the right place'

May 9, 3:41 PM

With a first-round upset of the Avalanche, the Wild ensured that Matt Cooke's season wouldn't end in suspension after he delivered a knee-on-knee hit to Colorado's Tyson Barrie.

Now, seven games deeper into Minnesota's post-season run, the Wild aim to ensure that Cooke is mentally prepared to check back into the lineup with the team's season teetering on the brink. 

"We’ll have a talk with him to make sure that his head’s in the right place as far as how he has to play the game, and he’s going to add, definitely, some speed," head coach Mike Yeo told Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. "He’s going to add some physicality."

Unquestionably, Cooke will be nearly bursting from the seams after being sidelined for over two weeks of post-season hockey. However, if he's unable to channel that energy and direct it toward the new style of play he claims to have adopted, Cooke could just as easily find himself watching Minnesota's emergent fleet of forwards, who picked up the slack in his absence, from the press box. 

Feature photo courtesy of USA TODAY Sports/Dennis Wierzbicki

May 8, 12:16 PM

Report: Wild's Cooke could bump Moulson to press box for Game 4

May 8, 12:16 PM

The return of Matt Cooke appears to be bad news for struggling Minnesota Wild forward Matt Moulson.

Moulson played only 9:36 on Tuesday - his lowest total since joining the Wild.

The 30-year-old scored in Game 5 of the first round for his only tally of the postseason and added two assists after recording 23 goals and 51 points in 75 games with the New York Islanders, the Buffalo Sabres and the Wild during the regular season.

According to Minnesota coach Mike Yeo, Moulson is not likely to play Game 4 on Friday due to a lower-body injury, making it even more likely Cooke takes his place in the lineup.

May 7, 3:17 PM

Wild's Cooke ready to 'play physical without being riskful' after 7-game suspension

May 7, 3:17 PM

The Minnesota Wild can welcome Matt Cooke back to their lineup for Game 4 against the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday after Cooke served the seventh and final game of his suspension for a knee-on-knee hit on Colorado Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie.

Despite the suspension, Cooke maintains he is a different player from his early days of head-hunting:

Riskful or not, Minnesota should benefit from Cooke's return. Cooke was on the ice for a lot of defensive-zone faceoffs during the regular season, allowing scorers like Zach Parise, Mikko Koivu and Jason Pominville to focus on offensive starts.

The Wild can tie their series with Chicago at two games apiece with a victory on Friday.

Feature photo courtesy of USA TODAY Sports/James Guillory

Apr 27, 8:38 AM

Report: Bettman was angling to increase suspension had Cooke appealed

Apr 27, 8:38 AM

The likelihood of Matt Cooke returning to the Minnesota Wild post-season lineup took a hit Saturday when Nathan MacKinnon pushed his opposition to the brink, lifting the Avalanche to a Game 5 victory in overtime. 

But MacKinnon's Avs aren't alone in their angling to have Cooke's banishment seep deeper into the 2014-15 season. 

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman was reportedly prepared to lengthen Cooke's suspension had he opted to appeal the league's original seven-game decision, per Steve Simmons in his Sunday column for The Toronto Sun:

Matt Cooke was smart that he didn't appeal his seven-game suspension. Word around was if he had done so, commissioner Gary Bettman was prepared to increase, not decrease, the number of games involved.

Apr 26, 8:22 AM

Matt Cooke opts against appealing 7-game suspension

Apr 26, 8:22 AM

Matt Cooke's 48-hour window to appeal the seven-game banishment he received for his knee-on-knee hit delivered to Colorado Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie has closed without the Minnesota Wild forward taking any reciprocal action. 

His silence, as Sportsnet's Nick Kypreos pointed out Friday, was expected.

Should the Wild advance past the top-seeded Avalanche, Cooke's return will likely occur late in their second-round series, but if Minnesota's run expires prior to his return, the suspension will carry over into next season. 

Feature photo courtesy of USA TODAY Sports/James Guillory

Apr 24, 1:50 PM

Wild's Cooke on knee-on-knee hit: 'It was not my intent'

Apr 24, 1:50 PM

Suspended Minnesota Wild forward Matt Cooke spoke for the first time since being suspended for a knee-on-knee hit on Colorado Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie, saying, "It was not my intent to collide knee-to-knee. [I] meant to finish my check."

Cooke added, "I'm disappointed and sorry Tyson Barrie can't play tonight," and challenged the notion that he has not reformed after several questionable incidents in his past.

This, of course, is the date of his last suspension-worthy offense. Cooke was sent home for 17 games (the remainder of the regular season and the first round of the playoffs) for elbowing Ryan McDonagh of the New York Rangers. 

In three regular seasons since that date, he has amassed a total of 134 penalty minutes in 212 games, and has not faced supplemental discipline from the league.

Following these statements, Cooke did not take any questions and did not reveal whether or not he is planning to appeal the suspension.

Feature photo courtesy of Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Apr 22, 2:43 PM

Report: Matt Cooke to have in-person hearing Wednesday for knee-on-knee hit on Tyson Barrie

Apr 22, 2:43 PM

A date has been set for Matt Cooke's hearing with the league after a knee-on-knee hit delivered to Tyson Barrie during Game 3 on Wednesday.

LeBrun adds Cooke will travel to New York City for an in-person hearing.

Here's another look at the incident in question.

Apr 22, 12:28 AM

Matt Cooke to have in-person hearing for knee-on-knee hit on Tyson Barrie

Apr 22, 12:28 AM

Minnesota Wild forward Matt Cooke could be facing a lengthy suspension after the NHL department of player safety announced an in-person hearing regarding his knee-on-knee collision with Colorado Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie in Game 3.

Barrie will miss at least a month with an MCL injury as a result of the hit.

In-person hearings are usually reserved for suspensions longer than five games, as anything shorter can be assessed over the phone.

Cooke's history of injuring players may have played a factor in the type of hearing he faces, but he has not been suspended in over 18 months, meaning he cannot be viewed as a repeat offender under the rules.