MINNEAPOLIS - The Minnesota Wild's forward Matt Cooke has been suspended seven games for kneeing Colorado Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie during Game Three of the First Round Stanley Cup Playoff series.
Cooke was at the league office in New York on Wednesday for a hearing about the incident, and his punishment was announced about eight hours later.
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," according to NBC Sports.
The Avalanche lead 2-1 with Game 4 set for Thursday night, so Cooke will be out for the series and more. He played a key part in Game 3 for the Wild in quieting Avalanche stars Nathan MacKinnon, Paul Stastny and Gabe Landeskog. Cooke was given a minor penalty for clipping Barrie, who will need four to six weeks to recover from a medial collateral ligament injury to his left knee.
If the term of the suspension is not fully served during the playoffs, the remaining games will be served at the beginning of the 2014-15 regular season.