Matt Cooke: Knee-To-Knee Hit On Tyson Barrie ‘Was Not My Intent’

matt cookeMinnesota Wild winger Matt Cooke addressed the media Thursday for the first time since receiving a seven-game suspension for his knee-to-knee hit on Colorado Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie.

“First and foremost, I want to say that I’m disappointed and sorry that Tyson Barrie can’t play for the Colorado Avalanche (Thursday night),” Cooke said. “I wish that he could.

“It was not my intent to collide with him knee-on-knee. It was my intent to finish my check. Playoffs area a hard and physical time, and it’s my job to be physical. I’ve led my team in hits in all three games, and it’s an intense time. I’ve led my team this year in hits, and in this series.

“Since March 20, 2011, I’ve been a changed player,” Cooke continued, referring to his elbow to the head of New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh. “I’ve approached the game differently. I think differently about the game. The stats that I’ve collected over those three seasons prove that I’m a changed player. And the plays that I make, and the plays that I don’t make, prove to that point, as well.”

Cooke was suspended for the final 10 games of the regular season and the first round of the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs for the McDonagh hit.

The leg check, which took place Monday during the Wild’s 1-0 win in Game 3 of the Western Conference quarterfinals, resulted in an MCL injury for Barrie that likely will sideline the young blueliner for at least a month.

“At the end of the day, this situation was not my intent.”

The Avalanche lead the best-of-seven series 2-1, with Game 4 set for Thursday night in Minnesota.

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