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Minnesota fans aren’t exactly wild about Matt Cooke

Colin D. | April 22, 2014

“Inspired by the ever studious Sandy Clough from 104.3 the Fan, who often takes time to read the local newspapers covering Colorado opponents, I decided to take a look at the comments sections below articles on the Cooke hit at both the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s web site and the SB Nation Wild blog “Hockey Wilderness” to see how Minny fans were reacting.”

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Minnesota’s Matt Cook has a well-earned reputation as an NHL thug. The winger has been widely criticized by players, coaches and NHL executives throughout his controversial career for his dirty style of play. Cooke has been suspended repeatedly for delivering hits intended to injure opponents. NHL rules have been written specifically in response to hits he has delivered.

Here’s a list of Cooke’s suspensions (source TSN.CA)

2011/04/27 Missed the last 10 games of the regular season and 7 playoff games (suspension). (17)
2011/03/21 Suspended by the NHL for the remainder of the season and the first round of the playoffs.
2011/02/20 Missed 4 games (suspension). (4)
2011/02/09 Suspended by the NHL for four games.
2009/12/04 Missed 2 games (suspension). (2)
2009/11/29 Suspended by the NHL for two games.
2009/01/31 Missed 2 games (suspension). (2)
2009/01/27 Suspended by the NHL for 2 games.
2004/02/21 Suspended by the NHL for 2 games. (2)

Prior to joining the Minnesota Wild Cooke made the declaration that he was a changed man. He attempted to ease the worries of the fans and of the league by promising to change his game. Cooke went so far as to join the ranks of NHL “reformers” and promised to approach the game differently. His words were clearly hallow, however, as evidenced by his assault on Tyson Berrie in last night’s game.

Cooke hit Barrie knee-on-knee, probably ending the Avalanche defenseman’s post-season.  

Could Minnesota hockey fans be such homers as to defend Cooke’s goon-like behavior? The simple answer is no.

Inspired by the ever studious Sandy Clough from 104.3 the Fan, who often takes time to read the local newspapers covering Colorado opponents, I decided to take a look at the comments sections below articles on the Cooke hit at both the Minneapolis Star Tribune‘s web site and the SB Nation Wild blog “Hockey Wilderness” to see how Minny fans were reacting. I am happy to report that the overwhelming majority of them would prefer never to see the hoodlum suit up in a Wild uniform again.

Minnesota fans grow up playing hockey. Up north the game is every bit as popular as baseball is here. They know the game, understand its codes and want to see it played the right way. They’re repulsed by Matt Cooke.

Here are some reader comments from the Star Tribune article by Rachel Blount with the headline: “Matt Cooke’s knee-on-knee hit could lead to seventh career suspension“:

cool as it was to see the “A” games of guys like Granlund and Parise tonight, I’m embarrassed of the cheap shots by Cooke and Nino. Is this Mike Yeo’s idea of “playing tough”? Embrrassing. Really.

I strongly feel Matt Cooke should get a suspension longer than 5 games. That type of behavior should not be tolerated in hockey, at all!

Cooke has played his last game for this year, I doubt the wild are going to beat Colorado 3 more times in this series although I hope I’m wrong but I see the Cooke hit as a huge motivation for the avs

Maybe the NHL should revise their suspension policy. If you make an illegal hit causing injury and missed games by a player, the player that made the hit is suspended (without pay) until the other player is back in the lineup or cleared for play by a doctor. An eye for an eye so to say…

Imagine if this same hit was on Parise and he was out 4-6 weeks. Folks who have sympathy for Cooke know nothing about hockey or what damage a knee to knee contact can do. Cooke should be suspended.

Cooke was not trying to lay a big check on him. His knee was moving directly in the path of Barrie. That is not a natural skating motion. I realize we have homers here on the board and they are biased, but try to have at least some sense of objectivity. Cooke led with a knee, injured Barrie and now must pay the price.

Cooke should be suspended the rest of the playoffs for that cheap shot.

This Wild fan thinks Cooke should be suspended. There are “highlight” reels of many Cooke knee-on-knee hits. This is his M.O. Was really hoping he’d do well with the Wild. He shakes things up, but went too far on this.

And now to the blogosphere. Here are some comments from the SB Nation blog dedicated to the Wild:

I admit before Monday, he had made the best of a 7th chance he really didn’t deserve. But this guy is dangerous, I don’t know what more the NHL needed to know in 2011 before banning him outright.

Cooke hit was dirty. There I said it. Now can every AVS fan stop acting like their shit doesn’t stink?
Oh, he tried with MacKinnon too:

Cooke deserves what he gets. All of it. That said, I would change my opinion of him in a second if we could get Dater on the ice with him.

You have got to be fucking kidding me? The comments above by real wild fans are much respected but to say he didn’t target Barrie is trash at best. He had his fucking leg out 2 feet and he can easily turn there. Have you ever skated?
There’s not ONE person on the entire hockey world who has said it is anything but intentional. Weekes, who never has an opinion, is all over the radio calling him out. Brophy at CBC, NBC Sports guys, everybody.

Cooke went back over the edge, he will pay for it and so will the wild because outside of this play he was very, very effective in not only stifling the stastny/landy/mack line, he was great on the PK. Now, it looks as if he will be out the remainder of this series at least, all for a selfish play that ultimately hurts your team.

Naturally, not every comment I read was in this vein. Particularly on the blog site there was plenty of the typical internet belligerence, largely focused on the Denver Post and it’s response to Cooke’s behavior. Still, I came away impressed at the ability of Wild fans to see Cooke for what he is.

The Minnesota fan base knows its hockey and it knows that Cooke made the Wild look bad by taking Barrie out. His brand of hockey has no place in the NHL and Minnesota fans seem to get that. 

None of this is going to bring Tyson Barrie back into the lineup for the rest of the playoffs but at least we know that Cooke’s hit is not looked on fondly in Minnesota.

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Written by Colin D.


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