NHL suspends Matt Cooke through first round of playoffs

The NHL delivered a strong message Monday about its stance on head injuries, suspending Penguins winger Matt Cooke for the rest of the regular season and first round of the playoffs for his hit Sunday on Rangers forward Ryan McDonagh. The suspension was first reported by Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos.

From the league’s news release:

"Mr. Cooke, a repeat offender, directly and unnecessarily targeted the head of an opponent who was in an unsuspecting and vulnerable position," said NHL Senior Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell. "This isn't the first time this season that we have had to address dangerous behavior on the ice by Mr. Cooke, and his conduct requires an appropriately harsh response."

Cooke's most recent suspension was for four games on Feb. 9, 2011 and under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement forfeits his salary based on the number of games in the season (82), rather than the number of days (186). The money goes to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund.

The incident occurred at 4:36 of the third period and Cooke was assessed a major penalty for elbowing and a game misconduct.

Cooke will miss Pittsburgh's remaining 10 regular-season games and be ineligible for the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

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