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The Colorado Avalanche: News from around the NHL - April 23rd, 2014

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Doug Pensinger

Don Cherry does not like the hit on Matt Cooke.

Don Cherry says he can’t justify the hit Matt Cooke laid on Colorado’s Tyson Barrie during Monday’s playoff game between the Avalance and Minnesota Wild.

Cooke, who took out Barrie with a knee-on-knee hit in the second period of the Wild’s 1-0 overtime win, was given a two-minute penalty on the play, but was later summoned for a hearing at the NHL office in New York.

“I have no excuse for Matt Cooke doing this. … He sticks his knee out, plants his knee,” Cherry said on his Coach’s Corner segment of Hockey Night in Canada Tuesday as video of the hit was shown.

Globe and Mail likes Barrie, doesn't care for Cooke.

Here is what’s so patently unfair about the NHL justice system: There isn’t any punishment the league’s department of player safety can dole out to the Minnesota Wild’s Matt Cooke that would compensate the Colorado Avalanche for the loss of Tyson Barrie, their most gifted offensive defenceman.

Cooke, the long-time NHL head hunter who’d mostly cleaned up his act after joining the Wild, reverted to his old ways Monday night in the third game of the Minnesota-Colorado playoff series, tossing out a knee at Barrie early in the second period of a game that would finish as a 1-0 overtime win for the home team.

Barrie didn’t return and after the game, Colorado coach Patrick Roy revealed that he’d suffered a medial collateral ligament tear and would miss four-to-six weeks. Translation: He’s done for the playoffs, unless the Avalanche can somehow go all the way and he might get back for a game or two at the end.

But it seems unlikely that Colorado can win without such a significant part, a young player that blossomed into the second half and provided an offensive dimension to a kind of no-name defence that seemed greater than the sum of its individual parts. Colorado, as a whole, is a bit like that – talented, but getting timely contributions from occasionally unlikely sources.

The Habs swept the Lightning.

The skinny: The Canadiens are on to the second round of the playoffs after Max Pacioretty scored a power-play goal with 42.6 seconds remaining in regulation time to give the Canadiens a 4-3 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning Tuesday night at the Bell Centre. Pacioretty’s first goal of the playoffs allowed the Canadiens to sweep the best-of-seven series in four games.