Minnesota Wild forward Matt Cooke is likely headed back on a lengthy leave after dishing Colorado Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie a knee injury on Monday night which will cause the 22-year-old to miss the next 4-6 weeks of the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The incident between Cooke and Barrie happened just two-minutes into the middle frame of Game 3 last night at the Xcel Energy Ceneter, sending Barrie to the locker room and the defendant to the penalty box for a two-minute kneeing minor.
"I think it's the play of the game," Colorado's head coach Patrick Roy said after the game according to NHL.com. "We lost our best offensive defenseman. I think it could have been a five-minute major and he'd be out of the game. I think that would have broken their momentum; we would have been on the power play."
Cooke, deemed a 'reformed player' as a member of the Wild for keeping a clean record, has been offered an in-person meeting with the NHL Department of Player Safety as he awaits his seventh career suspension. The 35-year-old has been taken out of 32 games by the league for prior hits, seven of which were postseason games.
"I'm sure the league will make the right call," Roy said. " We're very confident they will make the right call."
All in-person meetings can bring suspensions with them upwards of five-games. Cooke will have the opportunity to appeal anything more than six, but will likely remain on the shelf after the blatant play.
The Avalanche lead the series 2-1 after losing to the Wild last night in overtime. Game 4 is set for Thursday back at Xcel.