The Minnesota Wild will be without Matt Cooke for seven games after the NHL suspended him for his knee-on-knee hit to Colorado defenseman Tyson Barrie on Monday.
The NHL’s Department of Player Safety noted that the play was “entirely in front of Cooke” so the onus was on the Wild forward. The league also feels that Cooke should have anticipated Barrie’s desire to evade contact. Instead, Cooke further extended his leg “to ensure contact.”
The NHL cited the distance Cooke traveled to strike Barrie with his knee and the further extension of his knee as factors contributing to his punishment. However, Cooke’s history was also cited as justification for giving him seven games.
Cooke is not a repeat offender under the new CBA, but the league believes that it has the right to consider a player’s entire history when determining what punishment is appropriate.
Barrie, 22, is out four-to-six weeks with a MCL injury.