NEW YORK - Minnesota Wild forward Matt Cooke faces the possibility of a multi-game suspension when he heads to New York for a hearing in front of the NHL Department of Player Safety.
NHL Director of Media Relations John Dellapina tells KARE 11 that Cook can't play until a hearing takes place in the wake of an incident like the hit that occurred during Monday's playoff game against the Colorado Avalanche. Cooke's knee-on-knee hit will cost the Colorado Avalanche the services of defenseman Tyson Barrie for several rounds of the playoffs.
Now, the league is looking at suspending Cooke for the rest of the first round and beyond.
Barrie grabbed his knee after spilling to the ice and was unable to put any pressure on his left leg as he went straight to the dressing room on Monday. Avalanche coach Patrick Roy told reporters after the game that Barrie has a sprained medial collateral ligament and will miss four to six weeks.
Dellapina says the hearing will not take place today, meaning that Cook will likely fly to New York Wednesday in hopes he will be cleared in time to skate in game 4 against Colorado at the Xcel Energy Center Thursday night.
Cooke received a two-minute penalty for kneeing on the play. The in-person hearing doesn't necessarily mean six games or more but Cooke could sit for a while.
The checking forward and well-known agitator has been in trouble with the league before, but not during the three years of the department of player safety's existence because he had worked to change the way he approaches hits. Though he still plays a rugged game, he hadn't been suspended since he got 10 regular-season games and the first round of the playoffs for elbowing New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh in 2011.
Videotape of the incident shows Cooke had his knee extended as he approached Barrie. The previous kneeing suspensions handed out by the department, then under Brendan Shanahan, were two games to Taylor Hall and four to Kevin Porter. David Booth suffered a serious injury on the Porter hit.
Stephane Quintal, who replaced Shanahan after he joined the Toronto Maple Leafs' front office this month, is handling suspensions for the remainder of this season.
The Avalanche, who lost 1-0 in overtime on Monday and lead the series 2-1, will be hurting without Barrie. He had a breakout season with 13 goals and had two assists and averaged 23:49 in Colorado's first two playoff wins.