Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Matt Cooke Likely Out For Remainder of Series

It would appear that Matt Cooke has played his final game in the quarterfinal round.
Photo: Brace Hemmelgarn/USA Today
Early in the second period of last night's 1-0 Wild victory, Matt Cooke made a less than desirable hit on Colorado defenseman Tyson Barrie.

From the replay, Barrie saw Cooke charging at him and moved out of the way. Cooke tried to make contact in any possible way, so he stuck his leg out causing a knee on knee contact with Barrie. Barrie limped off the ice and did not return. He is now expected to miss four to six weeks.

Late last night, the NHL Department of Player Safety announced that Cooke was offered an in-person hearing. What that means: his suspension can (and most likely will) be longer than five games.

If you are looking for me to rationalize this hit, you aren't getting it.

From first glance in the stands, I did not think much of the hit. But upon returning home and seeing a replay, it was very clear that the hit was just bad. Cooke was flying around the ice hitting anything in white that moved last night. He was out for blood, and got it. But now, his move will cost the Wild his presence for the rest of the series at the very least.

I defended Cooke's signing in Minnesota. I still believe he makes this team better, as a shut down third line winger. He is solid on the penalty kill, and has a knack for getting in the opposition's head. But making plays (intentional or not) like that, will do him and the Wild no favors. Any questionable type of hit that Cooke makes at this point in his career, will no doubt have the DOPS knocking on his door shortly after. He does not have the benefit of the doubt anymore.

If you are trying to rationalize this hit, stop. Just don't. Its not worth the time. Go worry about how the Wild are going to fill Cooke's spot on the roster. Its the more pressing issue now.

Follow Giles on Twitter @gilesferrell

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