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The Colorado Avalanche: News from around the NHL - April 21st, 2014

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Doug Pensinger

Does the NHL stop caring about player safety during the playoffs?

No, the most graphic was Chicago defenceman Brent Seabrook’s launch with his shoulder pad into the head of St. Louis captain David Backes, who didn’t see him coming and didn’t see much of anything for a few moments after that. (And won’t be seeing any action for a good while unless the Blues have lost their moral compass, or their copy of the NHL’s concussion protocol.)

Adding to the general outrage, even after the National Hockey League slapped Seabrook with a possibly over-lenient three-game suspension, was audio of the hit’s aftermath, in which Seabrook’s defence partner Duncan Keith (or someone who sounds a lot like him) is saying “Wakey-wakey, Backes!” This, while the Blues’ leader is out on his feet, little birds circling his head, x’s where his eyes should be, his body only semi-upright because his heart is still going even after his brain has mostly quit, and because a Blues trainer has a hold of him.

An article, which includes video, of Chara laughing as Smith tries to fight him.

Brendan Smith is not a small man. The 25-year-old Detroit Red Wings defenceman is listed as 6’2″ and 198 pounds.

Next to the 6,9″, 255-pound Zdeno Chara, though, Smith looks like a child. And the Boston Bruins treated Smith’s attempt to fight him on Sunday night as mere child’s play.

The end of the first period of the Bruins’ win over the Red Wings on Sunday was marked by a little pushing and shoving, with Smith taking a few jabs at Chara.

Robidas broke his leg last night.

Anaheim Ducks defenceman Stephane Robidas has broken his right leg in an eerie replay of his last game in Dallas when he still played for the Stars.

Robidas had to be helped off the ice after his right leg bent awkwardly when a sliding Ryan Garbutt of Dallas undercut him and knocked him to the ice early in the second period in Game 3 of a first-round series Monday night.

Matt Cooke claimed another victim. This time it is Colorado Avalanche's Tyson Barrie. With this hit Cooke wins a trip to New York for an in-person hearing.

One of the NHL’s most notorious cheap-shot artists, Matt Cooke, was up to his old tricks on Monday night when the Minnesota Wild’s resident torpedo caught Colorado Avalanche defenceman Tyson Barrie with a knee-on-knee hit. Barrie hobbled straight to the dressing room and did not return. Cooke was assessed a two-minute penalty for kneeing on the play and returned to play in the game, which the Wild ultimately won 1-0 in overtime.

Colorado coach Patrick Roy announced post-game that Barrie, an important cog on the blueline for the Avalanche, suffered a torn medial collateral ligament on the play and is out for four-to-six weeks.

We’ve been down this road a few times before with Cooke, most recently when he injured Edmonton’s Sam Gagner with a late hit last month. Although in the coming days you may hear reference to Cooke being deemed a “first time offender” by the letter of the league’s blinkered player safety policy, the fact is the guy has a rap sheet about a light year long. Check out this video where Cooke is blasted by Don Cherry, a proponent of “Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em” hockey but not of injurious cheap shots. I’ll draw the reader’s attention specifically to three vicious knee checks between about 1:15 and 1:30 on the video, and a fourth around the 2:15 mark: