Wild's Matt Cooke is reformed, but can't escape his past

Minnesota Wild winger Matt Cooke hits 1,000 career NHL games and despite that success he will...

Minnesota Wild winger Matt Cooke hits 1,000 career NHL games and despite that success he will always be on of the most hated players in hockey. (KEVIN KING/QMI Agency)

Robert Tychkowski, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:12 PM ET

ST. PAUL, MINN. - Matt Cooke is OK with the fact he isnt viewed with the same reverence and respect as most of the other 285 players in NHL history who made it to 1,000 games.

Thats 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 nearly three years since his last suspension but knows he will never fully escape his past.

Ive always been a guy who said people are going to have their opinions, and theyre entitled to them, I dont hold it against them, said the 35-year-old, whos made a long list of enemies in a 15-year year career spanning Vancouver, Pittsburgh, Washington and now Minnesota.

I cant change any of that. Its made me the person and player that I am today.

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 teams 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.


Videos

Photos