Blog Entry

Changed Man? Matt Cooke Scores 2 in win

Posted on: October 7, 2011 1:38 am
Edited on: October 7, 2011 1:42 am

By: Adam Gretz

Well this was a somewhat unexpected twist to the NHL's opening night.

When Matt Cooke was talking about changing the way he plays the game over the summer, the general consensus was that actions speak louder than words, and that we'll have to take a wait-and-see approach to see if he's not only committed to it, but also follows through with it. And let's face it, there's a pretty good reason for that.

You can't tell much from one game, but based on Pittsburgh's season opening 4-3 shootout win against Vancouver on Thursday night, the NHL's most controversial player managed to get off to a great start by being the surprising offensive hero for the Penguins, scoring a pair of goals. His first one was a power play tally midway through the first period, while he also managed to score a shorthanded goal early in the second period (video above) when he fired a shot through Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa, who appeared to unintentionally screen Roberto Luongo.

Cooke, of course, usually has his name appear in the news for a questionable hit or a suspension -- of which he's had four since joining the Penguins -- which only overshadows the fact he is a valuable player, as he showed on Thursday. When he's not doing something that puts his team at a disadvantage, that is, whether it be an ill-timed penalty or one of the aforementioned suspensions. His season-ending 17-game banishment last season, which cost him all seven of Pittsburgh's playoff games against Tampa Bay, seemed to be the breaking point and the catalyst to get him to talk about changing the way he plays.

After Thursday's game, which turned out to be wildly entertaiing if you managed to stay awake for it, he spoke with Versus about coming back from last year's suspension and talked about how he let his team down  last season -- and they absolutely did miss him in the playoffs -- and felt the need to make it up to them.

Scoring two goals in the season opener is a great way to start.

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 15, 2011 4:32 pm
This comment has been removed.

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Since: Jul 3, 2008
Posted on: October 7, 2011 4:37 pm

Changed Man? Matt Cooke Scores 2 in win

Cooke hasn't been an embarrassment!!! What are you talking about... a couple cheap shots and you call the guy an embarrassment... he should have fought a time or two but he's a player you have to have on your team...

I think you forget some of the old Caps who used to be pests...  yeah, the elbows to the head are b.s.  Total b.s. but he's much more than that...

You act like he's Avery or something, waving his stick in front of the goalie... now, that's embarrassing... that, and the Caps whole history...

Caps swallow,

March of the Penguins...  &nb
sp;     &n

Since: Mar 24, 2008
Posted on: October 7, 2011 11:47 am

Changed Man? Matt Cooke Scores 2 in win

Cookie made his way on to an NHL roster the old fashion way... he earned it... with tough gritty play and hustle... as the game has changed it is difficult for many of these types of players to change their ways... when you play the game in the manner Cooke and many others were taught to play it is not as simple as a switch being flipped. By no means is this an excuse for his obvious poor choices (I have documented those as well) but to use skill to make you mark is much tougher than throwing your body into everything that moves... I do hope this can last as he is a skilled player... but skill alone is not his mark, the feistiness and agitator will need to be there as we grind through 82 games... unless of course he can score 164 goals this season 

Since: Nov 21, 2006
Posted on: October 7, 2011 2:38 am

Changed Man? Matt Cooke Scores 2 in win

1 game doesn't mean a whole lot to me.  Let's see him stay out of trouble for a month+.  Then we'll talk.

Since: Oct 20, 2008
Posted on: October 7, 2011 2:05 am

Changed Man? Matt Cooke Scores 2 in win

This is the irritating thing about when Matt Cooke lays a dirty hit on someone.  He has obvious talent and is a 2nd liner on most teams.  If he concentrated more on passing, shooting, etc., than making the big hit, then he would be a benefit to his team, instead of the embarrassment he's been to the Canucks, Capitals and Penguins.  Hopefully the new rules will keep him in check and Cooke might score 25 goals...

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