The Minnesota Wild are set to take on the Edmonton Oilers tonight at the Xcel Energy Center. However, for Wild winger Matt Cooke, it’s no ordinary night.
After 14 seasons spent with Vancouver, Washington and Pittsburgh, Cooke will play his 1,000th career NHL game tonight, and 64th in a red, white and green sweater. Signed by the Wild over the summer, Cooke has played an important role as a shutdown defensive, penalty-killing forward this season. In addition, after many years of playing the role of villain in Minnesota’s old yet still bitter rivalry with the Vancouver Canucks, Cooke has endeared himself to Wild fans with nine goals and 15 assists for 24 points and a plus-8 rating. Though many still regard him as a “cheap-shot artist” from his earlier days, there’s no question it’s a much different, more responsible Cooke that now takes to the ice in Minnesota.
Some interesting information from the team’s official website:
[Cooke] will become the 286th player in NHL history to reach the 1,000-game milestone and the third this season (Robyn Regehr and Martin St. Louis). The 5-foot-11, 208-pound native of Belleville, Ont., will also be the fourth player to play his 1,000th game in a Wild sweater joining defenseman Keith Carney (Feb. 24, 2008 vs. Calgary), left wing Andrew Brunette (Feb. 1, 2011 vs. Los Angeles) and center Matt Cullen (Jan. 10, 2012 vs. San Jose).
Cooke has collected 384 points (162-222=384), a plus-61 rating, 2,013 hits and 1,120 penalty minutes (PIM) in 999 games during his 15-year career. He ranks 10th amongst active players in hits, 13th in PIM and 28th in games played. Cooke won a Stanley Cup with Pittsburgh in 2009 and has recorded 33 points (13-20=33) and 129 PIM in 97 career playoff games. He was originally selected by Vancouver in the sixth-round (144th overall) of the 1997 NHL Entry Draft. Cooke made his NHL debut with the Canucks on Oct. 14, 1998 against Edmonton and scored his first career NHL goal against the Oilers on Jan. 25, 2000 (Bill Ranford). He played in 566 games in parts of nine seasons with the Canucks, 17 contests with the Washington Capitals during the 2007-08 season, 352 games with the Pittsburgh Penguins (2008-13) and 64 games with Minnesota this season. Cooke also represented Canada at the 2004 World Championship and the 1998 World Junior Championship.
Matt and his wife, Michelle, established The Cooke Family Foundation of Hope as a non-profit foundation in 2006. The Foundation provides opportunities and assistance to registered charity organizations within Canada. The Foundation’s efforts focus on those organizations that provide assistance to individuals faced with health, financial and emotional life challenges.
A thousand games in the best hockey league on the planet. No matter what role you play, that’s quite the feat. Our hats are off to Mr. Cooke here at Gone Puck Wild. Enjoy the game, folks!
Tags: Matt Cooke