Tyson Barrie won't return to the Colorado Avalanche's first-round series with the Minnesota Wild, after suffering an MCL injury on an ugly, knee-on-knee hit from Matt Cooke.
Unsurprisingly, neither will Cooke, who was suspended seven games by the Department of Player Safety on Wednesday.
The DOPS suspension video uses the word knee a lot. Makes sense.
"Cooke is leading with his left knee. After Barrie releases the puck, Cooke continues in this posture, further extends his knee, and makes contact wkith Barrie's left knee. This is kneeing."
That's from Patrick Burke, the knight who says knee.
Burke also explains away anybody who might be dumb enough to suggest that Barrie exacerbated the injury by trying to avoid the hit.
"While this evasive action might have worsened the extent of the injury, it should have been entirely predictable to Cooke that Barrie would attempt to avoid contact."
In other words, of course he tried to avoid the hit. Why the heck wouldn't he? That doesn't mean you can hang a knee.
As for why it gets seven games, when, say, Kevin Porter's very similar kneeing infraction, which caused a similar injury to David Booth back in December of 2011, got just four, well, it's Matt Cooke. He may not be a repeat offender, but he did rack up nine fines and suspensions just prior to the dawn of the Shanahan era. Burke need only allude to Cooke's history. We all know what he's talking about.
"Kneeing infractions are evaluated based on the degree of their severity," Burke explains. "Many do not rise to the level of supplemental disicpline. In this case, the distance traveled with an extended knee, the further extension of the knee to ensure contact, the force of the impact, and the resulting injury to an opponent merit supplemental discipline. These factors, combined with Cooke's history, warrant a more signifcant penalty than the most recent suspensions that have been imposed for kneeing."
That slightly more in-depth explanation will likely also come up again when Cooke attempts to appeal the ban -- something he can do since the suspension crossed the six-game threshold. One assumes it will be withheld. It's Cooke, and with his history, you could argue this was somewhat merciful.