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Cooke promises to change his game

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08:26 AM ET 08.24 | Matt Cooke has made a promise to Mario Lemieux, and he's not taking it lightly. [Cooke] says he will reverse his notorious behavior this season. When we last saw Cooke, he had elbowed New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh in the head, earning a 10-game suspension and a ban from the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs. That was not an unusual act for Cooke, a pest who draws vector control when he visits a venue. ... Lemieux is the Penguins' president, a member Hockey Hall of Fame and Steel City immortal. So Cooke had better live up to his word -- and he says he will. "It's a mentality, it's how I'm going to approach the game," Cooke told [The Altoona Mirror]. "And the team has worked hard in supporting me to accomplish these minor tweaks in my game."

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Matt Cooke, Getty Images Matt Cooke, Getty Images
August 24, 2011  08:36 AM ET

If he is able to do that he will be able to make big contributions to the Penguins. If not, I hope they dump him and fast.

August 24, 2011  08:50 AM ET
QUOTE(#1):

If he is able to do that he will be able to make big contributions to the Penguins. If not, I hope they dump him and fast.

Sorry BF, too much evidence against him to take him at his word. The real test will come when he has the chance to really hurt someone. If he hits the guy legally, not sticking out his leg, not letting the elbow fly, just a good check then maybe we can hope.

Still think he can't do it.

August 24, 2011  08:56 AM ET

Agreed. But giving him the benefit of the doubt.....he could really be a physical presence for the Pens. Time will tell.

August 24, 2011  09:03 AM ET

"Minor tweaks"? He's a guy whom I have absolutely no respect for. Does he have any talent? Sure. A lot. But he has shown he also has no qualms about hurting other guys, even ending their careers, to prove he's tough. This has absolutely nothing to do with Pittsburgh. It's not their fault. I think the guy is trash. It's up to him, not Lemieux, to be a decent player. I have no confidence in him to do the right thing.

August 24, 2011  09:05 AM ET
QUOTE(#1):

If he is able to do that he will be able to make big contributions to the Penguins. If not, I hope they dump him and fast.

always give a chance..but......

August 24, 2011  09:08 AM ET
QUOTE(#1):

If he is able to do that he will be able to make big contributions to the Penguins. If not, I hope they dump him and fast.

Agreed, although I wanted him dumped last season.

August 24, 2011  09:12 AM ET

Bottom line, there's no place in hockey for guys like Trevor Gillies or Matt Cooke. Cooke will get his 'second' chance to redeem himself and repair his image but with his track record I don't think I see that happening anytime soon.

There's enforcers, then there's just straight up goons.

August 24, 2011  09:14 AM ET
QUOTE(#7):

There's enforcers, then there's just straight up goons.

this, my friend, is the key thing here. You can be an enforcer, but to be a chippy, dirty player is a whole other ball of wax

August 24, 2011  09:16 AM ET

<There's enforcers, then there's just straight up goons.>

And then there's Matt Cooke.

August 24, 2011  09:19 AM ET

This thread has been like 5 months in the making. When i read the headline i was instantly uplifted, knowing that this will probably provide great entertainment and intrinsic hockey insight which will temper my regular benign boring ordinary workday with some fun.

My take on it is simply you can't teach an old dog new tricks. Or maybe a leopard can't change his spots. People usually don't change. This is why stories of people changing and overcoming their deficiencies are always great stories. If anyone could do that all the time, they wouldn't be great stories of redemption. The point is it aint commonplace. Kessel isn't all of a sudden going to grow some balls, Leighton isn't all of a sudden gonna figure out how to close the 5 hole, and Cooke isn't all of a sudden gonna stop being a doosherooni. It's who they are...

August 24, 2011  09:22 AM ET
QUOTE(#11):

Cooke isn't all of a sudden gonna stop being a ***doosherooni.*** It's who they are...

word of the day right here

August 24, 2011  09:23 AM ET
QUOTE(#11):

My take on it is simply you can't teach an old dog new tricks. Or maybe a leopard can't change his spots. People usually don't change.

See: Chris Simon

August 24, 2011  09:24 AM ET
QUOTE(#12):

word of the day right here

Agreed. Triple points at least!

August 24, 2011  09:26 AM ET

You never hear the names George Parros or Paul Bissonnette come up in these conversations. It's because these guys are enforcers and not complete goons.

Protect your stars don't try and take someone's head off randomly.

August 24, 2011  09:32 AM ET

Why is Lemieux even giving him another chance? Ask Marc Savard whether he has had enough chances.
I could understand if he played for the Islanders, but the fact that Pittsburgh, with all they have gone through with Crosby lately, is letting him get back on the ice with them is a disgrace.

August 24, 2011  09:38 AM ET
QUOTE(#16):

Why is Lemieux even giving him another chance? Ask Marc Savard whether he has had enough chances. I could understand if he played for the Islanders, but the fact that Pittsburgh, with all they have gone through with Crosby lately, is letting him get back on the ice with them is a disgrace.

or at the very least, a bit hypocritical....

August 24, 2011  09:41 AM ET
QUOTE(#17):

or at the very least, a bit hypocritical....

A bit? This is the same guy that said he didn't want to be part of a league with guys like Gillies because he feared for the safety of players, but yet he keeps putting Cooke on the ice over and over again.

August 24, 2011  09:44 AM ET

Minor tweaks? So they're going to stitch the elbows of his jersey to the side?

August 24, 2011  09:46 AM ET

Lemieux isn't, he already told Shero to get rid of Cooke.
I was ok with all of this until as soon as Cooke was suspended the league went back to being wishy washy and the commish still refuses to do anything about head shots, even though the games premier player has been sidelined with one. They acted like the Cooke suspension was the new policy when it was just to punish Cooke.
I hope he plays within the rules and keeps himself out of the pressbox, we need him on the PK.

 
August 24, 2011  10:01 AM ET

Not to take this off on a slightly different tangent, but I wonder if any of those that are ready to cut Cooke some slack would do the same for The Avery...or Ruutoo

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