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Wild GM defends signing "evolved" Matt Cooke

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09:24 AM ET 07.06 | Hours after saying nothing was imminent and he planned to let the dust settle, Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher detonated a dust cloud into the sky. In a two-pronged rapid-fire move Friday night that came together "incredibly quickly," the Wild traded Devin Setoguchi inside its division to the Winnipeg Jets for a 2014 second-round pick and followed it up by signing a player many consider one of the NHL's biggest cheap-shot artists. Matt Cooke, who routinely used to draw the ire of Wild fans as a member of the loathed Vancouver Canucks, signed a three-year, $7.5 million deal with the Wild. Cooke, who gained a reputation as a dirty player during the early portion of his five-year career with Pittsburgh, has worked to clean up his act the past few years and has developed into a quality two-way winger who can score, kill penalties, work relentlessly and yes, hit with the best of them. "There's no question when he came into the league, he was an agitating player, a player that was in the league because of his physical play and his ability to get players off their game," said Fletcher, assistant GM in Pittsburgh when the Penguins acquired Cooke. "He's really evolved."

Minneapolis Star Tribune

Matt Cooke, Bruce Bennett/Getty Images Matt Cooke, Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
July 6, 2013  09:34 AM ET

"He's really evolved."

Sounds like the Wild think he's the missing link.

July 6, 2013  09:45 AM ET
QUOTE(#1):

"He's really evolved."Sounds like the Wild think he's the missing link.

Maybe he is and if so that explains a lot. ;^D

July 6, 2013  09:46 AM ET

I thought Cooke already had a bad Rep before he came to Pittsburgh but this article says otherwise....

July 6, 2013  09:47 AM ET

I don't get it at all. They get rid of super-pest Cal Clutterbuck who could play some and then go out and sign this useless brick head? And then give Devin Setoguchi away for almost nothing?

Who's minding the store in Minnesota these days?

July 6, 2013  09:49 AM ET

So now that he's no longer on the Penguins do we call him "gritty" instead of dirty? Or is "gritty" only reserved for dirty Boston players?

July 6, 2013  09:51 AM ET
QUOTE(#3):

I thought Cooke already had a bad Rep before he came to Pittsburgh but this article says otherwise....

He was a complete angel with Vancouver, it was only when he went over to the dark side of the force and signed with Pittsburgh that he became dirty. At least that's the way it is portrayed around here sometimes.

July 6, 2013  09:53 AM ET
QUOTE(#6):

He was a complete angel with Vancouver, it was only when he went over to the dark side of the force and signed with Pittsburgh that he became dirty. At least that's the way it is portrayed around here sometimes.

LOL.

July 6, 2013  09:53 AM ET
QUOTE(#3):

I thought Cooke already had a bad Rep before he came to Pittsburgh but this article says otherwise....

He was always a little p rick but he did his best 'work' in Pittsburgh.

July 6, 2013  09:54 AM ET
QUOTE(#1):

"He's really evolved." Sounds like the Wild think he's the missing link.

Evolved and missing link!

His body? Maybe.

His brains? Still missing.

July 6, 2013  09:59 AM ET

So glad the Leafs passed on this tool. Would have made me queasy watching him in blue and white.

July 6, 2013  09:59 AM ET
QUOTE(#8):

He was always a little p rick but he did his best 'work' in Pittsburgh.

I don't know about that. He had a pretty good resume when he came from Vancouver, although he might have taken it to the next level early in his time with Pittsburgh. But he's a changed man, evolved as they say. As long as he stays on his meds he's OK.

July 6, 2013  09:59 AM ET
QUOTE(#5):

So now that he's no longer on the Penguins do we call him "gritty" instead of dirty? Or is "gritty" only reserved for dirty Boston players?

Nice!

The way I see it: "Dirtty" is the word for every player you wish was on your team. "Gritty" is the word for every player that is on your team but everybody else calls "dirtty" and wishes he was on theirs.

July 6, 2013  10:02 AM ET
QUOTE(#12):

Nice!The way I see it: "Dirtty" is the word for every player you wish was on your team. "Gritty" is the word for every player that is on your team but everybody else calls "dirtty" and wishes he was on theirs.

Sounds right.

July 6, 2013  10:03 AM ET
QUOTE(#10):

So glad the Leafs passed on this tool. Would have made me queasy watching him in blue and white.

I gotta be honest, I'm glad he's gone. He was as good a third liner and penalty killer as you'll find. When he got off his meds, he was an embarrassment to the Pens. More than a few times lately he was penalized simply for being Matt Cooke. Glad he's someone else's problem now.

July 6, 2013  10:03 AM ET
QUOTE(#10):

So glad the Leafs passed on this tool. Would have made me queasy watching him in blue and white.

I only wish he would've stayed in the Eastern Conference!

Oh! Wait! Detroit is in the East now! Never mind!

Sigh. It's going to take a while to get used to the idea of Detroit in the EC.

July 6, 2013  10:07 AM ET
QUOTE(#11):

I don't know about that. He had a pretty good resume when he came from Vancouver, although he might have taken it to the next level early in his time with Pittsburgh. But he's a changed man, evolved as they say. As long as he stays on his meds he's OK.

All of his suspensions and, of course, his most famous non-suspension (Savard) came while playing in Pittsburgh. He was a little turd in Vancouver but never "evolved" into the headhunter until he signed with the Pens.

July 6, 2013  10:10 AM ET
QUOTE(#15):

I only wish he would've stayed in the Eastern Conference!

Oh! Wait! Detroit is in the East now! Never mind!

Sigh. It's going to take a while to get used to the idea of Detroit in the EC.

He probably wishes he stayed there too.

July 6, 2013  10:12 AM ET
QUOTE(#12):

Nice!The way I see it: "Dirtty" is the word for every player you wish was on your team. "Gritty" is the word for every player that is on your team but everybody else calls "dirtty" and wishes he was on theirs.

difference is roamer that most people don't "want" Cooke on their team... I know I'd be embarrassed to see him with the Wings

July 6, 2013  10:13 AM ET
QUOTE(#16):

All of his suspensions and, of course, his most famous non-suspension (Savard) came while playing in Pittsburgh. He was a little turd in Vancouver but never "evolved" into the headhunter until he signed with the Pens.

Not one to defend Cooke. He has plenty of cheap shots on his r??sum??. But he was suspended in Vancouver.

 
July 6, 2013  10:25 AM ET
QUOTE(#19):

Not one to defend Cooke. He has plenty of cheap shots on his resume.

But he was suspended in Vancouver.

Please elaborate. I do not remember him being suspended when playing for the Nux and I live in Nux country.

However, I do remember him being suspended for hits on Anisimov, Walker, Tyutin, McDonagh, and, of course, his famous non-suspension hit on Savard.

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