Mr. Cooke, why don't you have a seat. No! No Matt! You don't need to knee the chair before you sit in it. It doesn't do you, or the chair any good and honestly, it's just a dick move. When we brought you into the organization it was not without controversy. A lot of the loyal fanbase was, to say the least, perturbed by this decision to give the "reformed" Matt Cooke a shot in Minnesota. For the most part you have been what we hoped. High-energy agitator, penalty killer and a man who could live up to the promises you had made yourself and the organization in regards to having put the dirty days behind you.
Yet when the playoffs come around and the intensity kicks in you seem to forget that your knee is not a weapon. Last year you put your knee into Tyson Barrie and cost him the playoffs and eearning yourself a suspension. This year it happened again when you led with your knee against Niklas Hjalmarsson. You were fortunate to get away with that one and more fortunate to not do any significant damage to Hjammer.
It was a rough year for you. You played just 29 regular season games and 7 playoff games. Your shooting percentage was one of the best on the team, but you registered just 24 SOG on the season, scoring 4 times to go with your 6 assists. The numbers aren't anything to hang your hat on, but you also weren't brought in to be a sniper either.
Expectations for next season
If you do find yourself in the lineup, just try not to kill anyone, OK?
1) Get healthy - Not that we missed you much down the stretch, but regardless of that we need you to be available. You might not play in every game next season, but that doesn't mean we want you to remove you as an option entirely. Get healthy, get some work-outs in this summer, and come back next season ready for a full 82 games.
2) Stop leading with your knee - For crying out loud Matt, you have to realize this is not only dangerous for the players you target, but it's dangerous for your teammates who may face retaliation for your actions and it's dangerous for you! You are being watched like a hawk every shift. You know this. You have to play the game cleaner than everyone else out there because you are a target.
3) Stop leading with your f$@%ing knee! - Dammit man! I cannot stress this enough! Especially in the playoffs. If you cannot control yourself, you will not be playing the game anymore, period.