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Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Torres knows what Cooke is dealing with

By Pierre LeBrun

LOS ANGELES -- If there's one guy who knows what Matt Cooke is going through again, it's Raffi Torres.

Like Cooke this week, Torres had to get on a plane to New York last spring in the playoffs for a discipline hearing. Cooke is being called to the league office for his knee-on-knee hit on Colorado Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie. Barrie blew out his knee on the play and is gone for four to six weeks.

Torres was suspended for the final six games of that second-round series with the Los Angeles Kings for his hit on Jarret Stoll in Game 1.

And like Cooke, Torres has a history of supplemental discipline, but has also worked hard to change his game the last few years. He's become an impact player for the San Jose Sharks.

But, yes, Torres knows what Cooke is going through now ahead of the Wild player's Wednesday afternoon hearing in New York, more notably the reaction on Twitter and elsewhere wanting the book thrown at Cooke.

"People are pretty lethal, especially on social media," Torres said after Tuesday morning's skate at Staples Center. "He's done a great job of changing his game and doing the work that he's had to put in. It's just one of those plays. He's locked in, it's like [Brent] Seabrook, it's tough to pull out. I don't think he's trying to hurt a man like that.

"I think he's done a heck of a job the last couple of seasons to re-establish his game," continued Torres. "But with the media getting involved and especially social media, they make him out to be a serial killer. It's kind of painful when you have to read that kind of stuff. I'm sure his family and close friends have to read that kind of stuff."

Asked if him and Cooke had talked about things over the past few years, Torres said they hadn't.

"Not really talked to him but I've watched videos of him changing his game and not taking himself out of the play to make that big hit," said Torres. "You can tell his penalty minutes are down the last couple of seasons. It's one of those things. I'm sure he felt brutal in that moment [Monday] night, thinking, 'What did I just do? All that work goes down the drain.' He'll take what he gets [suspension] and I'm sure he'll be back being an effective player for them in the future."