Wild look to even NHL playoff series at the X - KMSP-TV

WILD: Cooke says hit 'was not my intent'

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) -

The Wild will look even the NHL playoff series Thursday night against the Colorado Avalanche after their first win at the Xcel Energy Center.

The Wild won with Mikael Granlund’s overtime goal on Monday, but the Avalanche are still up 2-1 in the series, but the Wild are hoping they come in feeling some pressure after a Game 3 shutout.

The Wild will still have to contend without left wing Matt Cooke, who was suspended for 7 games Wednesday for a knee-to-knee hit that injured Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie.

"I'm disappointed and sorry Tyson Barrie can't play for the Colorado Avalanche tonight," Cooke said in a press conference on Thursday. "It was not my intent to collide with him knee-on-knee, it was my intent to finish my check."

Cooke was suspected for two reasons: the distance he traveled to make the hit and his history of 9 suspensions in his 15-year career. He feels the stats he's collected since 2011 indicate he's a "changed player," also noting it is his job to be physical.

“Now it’s a chance for somebody else to come into the lineup and do that job for us in a different way,” Wild captain Mikko Koivu said. “Obviously, you can’t find another Mike Cooke, so whoever it’s going to be, he’ll have to figure out his own way and to help our team to be successful.”

Cooke was a huge physical presence for the Wild on Monday, acting as a penalty killer and contacting nearly every Avalanche in his way, but that one particular hit resulted in a medial collateral ligament injury to Barrie’s left knee, and he’ll need 4 to 6 weeks to bounce back.

“There’s no place for that in the game,” Avalanche defenseman and Bloomington, Minn. native Erik Johnson said. “I think that you look at the guy who he hit, one of our top D, he’s going to be out for the foreseeable future and I don’t even know if there’s a place for him in this game. It’s disgusting what he’s done to guys’ careers, and the league will handle that accordingly.”

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