Cooke: ‘I have fire in my belly, I still feel I can play’

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It has been over two months since Matt Cooke was bought out by the Minnesota Wild and the 36-year-old is still waiting for a contract.

Star Tribune reporter Michael Russo recently caught up with the veteran forward, who is hoping to play this season.

“I’ve been blessed to play this game for 17 years and make a living out of it and provide opportunity for my family,” Cooke said. “I have fire in my belly, I still feel I can play, I worked hard to make sure if I get the opportunity that I can contribute to whatever team gives me a chance.

“If it doesn’t come into fruition, I’m not going to get upset. It’ll be an opportunity to spend time with my family 24/7 for the first time in awhile.”

Sports hernia surgery limited Cooke to just 29 games with the Wild last season where he had four goals and six assists.

“I was hurt last year. There was some mismanagement on my (hip) injury, and part of that is my fault. It led to me getting hurt twice in one season. I’m 36 years old, I only played 30 games last year and then me getting bought out, that’s a tough scenario (to find a job).

“Patience is a virtue and right now all I’m doing is making sure I stay ready, that I get ready. We’re still three weeks away (from camp).”

Related: Report: Ballard, Leopold leaning towards retirement