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Cooke helps turn tables in Wild’s favor in his return

May 10, 2014, 12:52 PM EST

Matt Cooke is perhaps best known for his controversial hits, like the knee-on-knee hit on Colorado’s Tyson Barrie that resulted in him getting a seven-game suspension. He’s a man that used to get suspended more frequently and has repeatedly said that he has changed his game.

There’s more to him than that though.

In his return on Friday, Cooke stayed out of the sin bin while leading his team in hits (five) and blocked shots (three). He also played a big role in Justin Fontaine‘s opening goal for the Wild:

“(Cooke) he’s a playoff performer,” Wild coach Mike Yeo said, per the Star Tribune. “He’s brought in here obviously to do a lot of things and help you get to the playoffs. But the experience he has, the way that first goal was created, that’s what we’re looking for.

“We want him to finish checks, we want him to play an honest, hard game, and he’s got the ability to make plays, the ability to be a hard guy to play against defensively, but also to help you create some stuff offensively too.”

In other words, Cooke can contribute in a lot of different ways. As long as he stays out of trouble.

  1. lordfletcher - May 10, 2014 at 1:10 PM

    #beastmode

    “CRAW-FORD….CRAW-FORD”!!!!

    • slysipops - May 10, 2014 at 7:20 PM

      go back to your crayons on MOM’S basement troll !

    • lordfletcher - May 10, 2014 at 9:27 PM

      hard to be a troll when you yell it (“CRAW-FORD….CRAW-FORD”!!!!) during game 3 and 4 from your own season tickets.

      Sorry that this fan is having a great time during his fav. teams playoff run.

      Moms basement, crayons, yawn……………………………………………. have an original thought kiddo

      Go Wild!

  2. porkchopexpress1969 - May 10, 2014 at 1:22 PM

    The A hole should be out of the league.

  3. jason9696 - May 10, 2014 at 1:28 PM

    He should have gotten suspended for the entire playoffs after taking out Tyson Barrie’s knee. I wonder what Marc Savard thinks about this?

    • clarke16 - May 10, 2014 at 1:34 PM

      Try not to think, Jason. It’s better that way. ;)

      • alexo0 - May 10, 2014 at 4:30 PM

        Can’t think. Cooke just gave me a concussion.

  4. purpleguy - May 10, 2014 at 1:29 PM

    While Cook did have a great game, I think PHT puts his name in headlines to get page hits.

    • kosmokenny - May 10, 2014 at 3:15 PM

      His name is right there in the headline, as you pointed out. Spell it right.

  5. clarke16 - May 10, 2014 at 1:33 PM

    Outside of the first goal (that he created the opportunity for) 3 different times Cookie drove into the offensive zone all alone on the forecheck 3-5 strides away from where the Hawks D picked up the dump in and single-handedly bottled up his man took the turnover and created extended zone time as his teammates joined the fun…

    Gotta love me some cookie! :)

  6. clarke16 - May 10, 2014 at 1:44 PM

    What I love about that goal watching the replay above is how fundamentally sound Cooke is on the play. He engages his man…steals the puck…passes it to his teammate for the shot and GOES DIRECTLY TO THE FRONT OF THE NET for the screen/tip in opportunity…

    Boom. That’s how they do it on the whiteboard in the room…and that’s how you win playoff hockey. ;)

  7. nicofthenorthstar - May 10, 2014 at 2:16 PM

    Love this guy. He is an absolute spark plug for his team and drives the opposition crazy with his relentless energy and work.
    To think, I was absolutely furious the day they signed him given his history. He’s a changed hockey player and the Wild are a better team for it.

    • 19to77 - May 10, 2014 at 2:29 PM

      “Changed hockey player,” except for the suspension he literally JUST finished serving for yet another dirty hit. He’s a fantastic spark plug type of player and that third line the Wild put together last night was excellent, but let’s not get ridiculous with our apologism here. He threw his last Matt Cooke Special less than two weeks ago. I mean, come on.

  8. nicofthenorthstar - May 10, 2014 at 3:18 PM

    Respectfully disagree there, 77. That’s a play where Cooke has to be more careful, but it’s easy to get caught in a bad position (with the leg out) when you’re trying to keep a guy in front of you to make the open ice hit. In a play that isn’t all that dissimilar, a couple days later Subban was getting blamed for ducking/evading a Thornton hit that could have resulted in a serious injury to Thornton. If Barrie takes the hit directly instead of stretching himself to try to avoid it, he does not wind up in a position to take the knee-on-knee. I’m not saying it was his fault completely, but it takes two to tango and he didn’t do a great job of protecting himself. Nor do I blame Subban for avoiding the Thornton hit. Point is, sometimes squaring up to take the hit when the hit is going to happen either way leaves the recipient in a much safer position, as well as the guy doing the hitting.
    Cooke has played a gritty but clean game for a few years now. One mistake (to give him the benefit of the doubt – which many feel he doesn’t deserve) does not erase all the progress he has made. My opinion, and by no means an objective opinion given his contributions to my team.

    • avscup - May 10, 2014 at 7:47 PM

      Except there have been plenty other “mistakes”

  9. bruinpred - May 10, 2014 at 6:14 PM

    Cooke only “reformed” because he wanted to stay in the league, He is the same scumbag he always was.

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