ST. PAUL, MINN. - Matt Cooke is OK with the fact he isnít viewed with the same reverence and respect as most of the other 285 players in NHL history who made it to 1,000 games.
Thatís part of the reason he made it to 1,000 games in the first place.
One of the most hated men in hockey is reformed now ó nearly three years since his last suspension ó but knows he will never fully escape his past.
ďIíve always been a guy who said people are going to have their opinions, and theyíre entitled to them, I donít hold it against them,Ē said the 35-year-old, whoís made a long list of enemies in a 15-year year career spanning Vancouver, Pittsburgh, Washington and now Minnesota.
ďI canít change any of that. Itís made me the person and player that I am today.Ē
Not a lot of sixth rounders play 1,000 games, and in the early years of his career Cooke showed why. All he did, as one writer put it, was play four minutes a night and run the other teamís goalie.
It was former Canucks coach Marc Crawford who helped shape him into the super pest, giving him more ice time and responsibility while asking him to walk a razor thin line that Cooke crossed over far too many times.