Nobody can watch [Matt Cooke] now with unbiased eyes and say he’s the same player he once was. I can tell you from my standpoint, I definitely had a previous perception about what kind of player Matt Cooke was (I was just reading two columns I wrote on Cooke after the McDonagh incident and a Nick Schultz kneeing incident) and thus what kind of person Cooke must be. My opinions have changed after watching him and talking to him for three-quarters of a season. I can tell you, from a teammate standpoint, he’s very much a respected leader in the Wild’s room. Some of the “kids,” like Charlie Coyle, were going on and on about Cooke today.
I know that doesn’t change some of his previous acts and doesn’t help guys like Marc Savard, but there’s no doubt he’s a different, much more effective player today than he was in yesteryear.
-- Michael Russo - Matt Cooke talks about the ups and downs of a 1,000-game career (via abstinencesymbol)