Matt Cooke has been suspended five times in his career, but not since 2011.  The former poster child for Supplemental Discipline had cleaned up his act – after ending one career and attempting to shorten many more – with the Pittsburgh Penguins.  The reformed Cooke then signed with the Minnesota Wild as a free agent.

Consider his reformation a failure.  

While Cooke’s efforts to remain a changed man were commendable, it was apparently just a matter of time before his stripes showed through.  Those stripes have helped earn him a lengthy break from playing hockey.




“A leopard never changes its spots. Matt Cooke should sit for 50 games, in my opinion,” said former NHL referee Paul Stewart, now an officiating and disciplinary committee member with Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League, via the Denver Post. “He’s bigger and tougher when the numbers on a guy’s back get bigger. This guy plays on the wrong side of the fence all the time. I see in him a real lack of courage.”

Cooke has been suspended seven games for kneeing Colorado Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie.  The play happened early in the second period of a scoreless Game 3.  Barrie made a nice outlet pass and moved to avoid a check by the oncoming Cooke.  Rather than let the young blueliner pass, Cooke stuck out his knee.  Here’s the official video from the Department of Player Safety:

Cooke was given a two-minute minor for kneeing in the game. Referees for the game were Brad Watson & Justin St. Pierre.

Barrie was hurt on the play, suffering a torn MCL.  He’s expected to miss 4-6 weeks.

While he’s technically not a ‘repeat offender’, that designation, as defined in the CBA, is concerned only with how his lost salary will be calculated.  That’s a moot point since NHL players don’t earn salary in the playoffs. (In the regular season, first-time offenders forfeit their salary based on the number of days, while fines for repeat offenders are calculated based on the number of games the player will miss.)

The NHL’s Department of Player Safety certainly considered Cooke’s long and storied suspension history in making their determination.

If the Avalanche don’t play seven more playoff games, the suspension will carry over into the 2014-15 regular season.

Some final words of wisdom from the Stew Cat:


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This article includes content from a previous Scouting the Refs article.