Matt Cooke had a huge impact on the Wild last season. He split opinion when he came to town, many remember Cooke as the goon of his early career — many think he still is that goon. Others saw a reformed game (the numbers play that out) and an offensive upside that had been overshadowed by his history as a goon.
Cooke proved early in the year that there was another side to his game. He could create offense and be a physical force without being cheap. That issue, unfortunately, turned against him during the playoffs when he went knee-on-knee with the Avalanche’s promising young defenseman Tyson Barrie, ending Barrie’s postseason. (Mile High Sticking has a nice piece on why the Avs should sign him long-term.)
Because the Wild won the series Cooke was able to serve his suspension and return to play before the Wild were eliminated by Chicago, but the incident cast a shadow over his season as the press continued to debate whether or not Cooke intentionally went knee-on-knee with Barrie.
#1 10/03/13 vs. Los Angeles LAK 3 – MIN 2 (SO)
Matt Cooke nabs his first goal in a Wild sweater and the first Wild goal of the 2013-14 season by booting in a pass/shot (?) from Kyle Brodziak. This would start a season of “almosts” for Brodziak, as in “that almost hit the empty net.”
#2 10/10/13 vs. Winnipeg Jets WPG 1 – MIN 2
Matt Cooke’s second of the year is another goal that was little more than the result of Cooke being in front of the net and hustling.
#3 10/12/13 vs. Dallas Stars DAL 1 – MIN 5
That’s three goals in the opening five games of the season for Cooke.
#4 11/30/13 vs. Colorado Avalanche MIN 3 – COL 2 (SO)
#5 12/05/13 vs. Chicago Blackhawks CHI 3 – MIN 4
Matt Cooke doesn’t care about your no flyby rule. (Ok. So this was pre-no flyby debate…)
#6 01/12/14 vs. Nashville Predators MIN 4 – NSH 0
The music that plays after the goal is fantastic. That’s exactly how you feel when your team is down 3-0. Like a drunk clown.
#7 01/23/14 vs. Chicago Blackhawks CHI 1 – MIN 2
#8 01/25/14 vs. San Jose Sharks MIN 2 – SJS 3 (OT)
#9 02/01/14 vs. Calgary Flames MIN 3 – CGY 4 (OT)
That’s a pretty traditional goal, right? I’ve never seen Cooke play before. He’s a superstar with speed and puck skills, right?
#10 03/20/14 vs. New Jersey Devils MIN 3 – NJD 4 (OT)
A nice tip from Cooke to tie up the game late.