Suspension over, Cooke ready ‘to get back out there’

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Minnesota forward Matt Cooke has finished serving his seven-game suspension for kneeing Colorado’s Tyson Barrie in the opening playoff round, and is eligible to return to the Wild lineup for Game 4 of their series against Chicago.

It’ll be very interesting to see if Wild head coach Mike Yeo opts to insert Cooke for Game 4, as the move would alter a lineup that yielded Minnesota’s best performance of the series (and its lone win.)

While Cooke’s been out, the Wild have rotated in spare forwards — Justin Fontaine and Stephane Veilleux, mostly — and in Game 3, Yeo seemed to find a nice fit on the third line with Eric Haula centering Fontaine and Matt Moulson. The trio combined to score the game-winner (Haula, on assists from Fontaine and Moulson) while racking up four shots on goal.

Here’s more on the Cooke situation, from various reporters embedded in Minnesota:

From the Chicago perspective, ‘Hawks players didn’t seem overly concerned about the possibility of Cooke drawing back in. Patrick Kane told the Sun-Times that Cooke “probably knows better now” about throwing dangerous and dirty hits.

Related

Cooke: I didn’t intend to collide knee-on-knee with Barrie

NHL suspends Matt Cooke for seven games

Poll: Did the NHL get the Cooke suspension right?

Fight video: Flyers’ Manning vs. Penguins’ Gaunce

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Breaking: the Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers don’t like each other.

The stakes might be higher for the Penguins than the Flyers – aside from those who still believe Philly has a shot at a playoff run – their rivalry rarely subsides.

With that in mind, it’s no surprise that Sunday featured at least one fight, with Cameron Gaunce squaring off against Brandon Manning in a pretty spirited bout.

Manning isn’t shy about fighting, by the way; this was his seventh bout of the season, according to Hockey Fights.

Higher on the radar for the Penguins is the situation for Conor Sheary, who has been absent from the ice since about midway through the first period. PHT will keep an eye out for updates on what could be yet another injury for the health-challenged Pens.

Dreading the work week? Watch this dog get ‘ice time’ with puck

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Life is difficult, complex and confusing. Good thing we have dog videos.

Forgive this video being one night late, but for those of us who watch cute animal clips, time is a furry circle. Or something like that.

Anyway, this golden retriever got a little “ice time” before the Washington Capitals’ game against the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday in what would end up being a 4-1 win for the Caps. It’s an excellent video featuring a top-notch, hilarious pooch.

Alternate joke: Now that is some puck retrieval.

Patrik Laine’s out sick for Jets on Sunday

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Patrik Laine and Auston Matthews are locked with identical goals (34), assists (27) and points (61) on Sunday, which is remarkable since Laine has played in 67 games versus 75 for Matthews. He won’t get a chance to beef up his numbers on Sunday, either.

It looks like the high-scoring rookie is missing the Winnipeg Jets’ contest against the Vancouver Canucks because of an illness, according to TSN’s Sara Orlesky.

The Jets are almost assured to miss the playoffs, so seeing Laine lose a chance to bolster his Calder argument adds a little extra sadness to the night.

NHL schedules hearing for Micheal Haley’s sucker-punch on Calle Jarnkrok

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The NHL’s Department of Player Safety announced a Monday hearing for San Jose Sharks tough guy Micheal Haley for his “roughing/sucker punch” on Calle Jarnkrok of the Nashville Predators.

The league didn’t specify if Haley will face a telephone or in-person hearing on Monday afternoon. They did, interestingly, use the phrase “sucker punch” in that official announcement.

Haley received a match penalty during the game. Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer was highly upset about the hit that inspired Haley’s actions.

“When you run someone from behind in a game like that, you probably deserve to get a punch in the mouth,” DeBoer told reporters.

In other bad news for the Sharks, CSN Bay Area’s Kevin Kurz reports that Logan Couture‘s situation isn’t looking promising after he was hurt on Sunday.