Penguins winger Matt Cooke today was suspended by the NHL for four games because of his hit from behind on Columbus defenseman Fedor Tyutin during a game Tuesday.
Cooke, who has 10 goals, 23 points in 54 games, will be eligible to return Feb. 20 when the Penguins play at Chicago.
The suspension hurts a group of Penguins forwards already severely depleted because of injuries to Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Mark Letestu, Chris Kunitz, Arron Asham and Mike Comrie.
Cooke's hit sent Tyutin front-first into the boards during the first period of a 4-1 Blue Jackets win at Consol Energy Center. Cooke received a major charging penalty at the time.
He received the suspension after a phone hearing with NHL executives.
Following the game, Cooke contended that he wasn't skating full speed and that Tyutin saw him coming and turned at the last second, so that he went into the boards face-first when Cooke finished his check. Penguins coach Dan Bylsma offered a similar description.
Shelly Anderson: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1721