The National Hockey League's Department of Player Safety announced a seven-game suspension for Minnesota Wild left winger Matt Cooke on Wednesday, in the wake of his knee-on-knee hit on Tyson Barrie of the Colorado Avalanche in Game 3 of the First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The play is broken down by the NHL when considering supplemental discipline (Cook received a minor penalty for kneeing during the game) and it's pretty obvious this play merits the suspension. If the entirety of the suspension for kneeing is not served in the playoffs, it will resume at the beginning of the next regular season. While it's been a while since Cooke has seen time off for bad behavior, this certainly isn't the first time it's happened.
Cooke was twice suspended during the 2008-09 season for hits to the head, including blows to the New York Rangers' Artem Anisimov and Scott Walker of the Carolina Hurricanes. Cooke was suspended again for a hit up high that left Boston Bruins Center Marc Savard out for two months with a concussion. Cooke's own teammate, Bill Guerin, called for a suspension, saying "If a guy gets hurt like that with a shot to the head, there's got to be something,"
Evaluating himself in the offseason, Matt Cooke tried to adopt a less intense style of play, leading one pundit to suggest there was "less spice in Matt Cooke's new recipe."
With the brutal kneeing penalty, clearly there is still plenty of kick in what Matt Cooke's dishing out, hence the extra heat.
[Image credit to Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports]