The NHL suspended Minnesota Wild forward Matt Cooke for seven games on Wednesday night.
Cooke was suspended for his Game 3 hit on Colorado Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie.
The suspension ensures that the Wild will have to play without Cooke for the remainder of the Colorado series and should they win, the start of the Western Conference semifinals.
According to the Star Tribune, it is the second-longest suspension for kneeing in the league’s history. The NHL said several factors led to the decision, including Cooke’s history and the severity of the injury to Barrie.
Colorado defenseman and Minnesota native Erik Johnson had some strong words regarding Cooke.
“What he’s done to guys’ careers speaks for itself. It’s disgusting, what he’s done in the past,” Johnson told the Denver Post. “He might have cleaned up his game lately, but to lead with a knee like that against a guy like Tyson, or whoever, it was sickening to see.”
Reaction to the news was mixed as Cooke was trending on Twitter.
Seven games for Matt Cooke seems very fair to me. I said five today and @PhilMackey said 10 to 11. We met in the middle.
— Judd Zulgad (@1500ESPNJudd) April 24, 2014
I’m OK with 7 games for Matt Cooke. Considered intent, history, outcome. All fine with me.
— Derek Wetmore (@DerekWetmore) April 24, 2014
@Russostrib How does bryan bickell not get suspended for hit knee to knee hit, while Matt Cooke does. I agree with 7 games.
— Bill Sexson (@puckett33) April 24, 2014
— Bart Niebuhr (@BartNiebuhr) April 24, 2014
I have absolutely no respect for Matt Cooke. Sad the Wild ever picked him up.
— will horn (@horjoh) April 24, 2014
— Eric Voorheis (@EVoorheis) April 24, 2014