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.