Anatomy of a headshot: Matt Cooke's five nastiest hits [VIDEOS]

Categories: Wild
Screenshot from Youtube: Boston's Matt Savard is carted away by medical staff after a blow to the head by Matt Cooke.
It takes years to build a reputation but only seconds to self-destruct. Of the thousands of hits that Matt Cooke has delivered in his 15-year hockey career, only a handful can safely be called reckless. However, that handful has to come represent them all.

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Cooke signed this summer with the Minnesota Wild. In a profile for this week's cover, he tells us, "I made it in the league for so long because I played a certain way." Night after night, he went out looking for the biggest hit possible.

Below we've compiled five hits that overshadowed his offensive abilities and forced him to change, both on the ice and off.

"I couldn't control any of it," he says. "I needed help. I needed to find somebody to help me through it."

Anyone unfamiliar with the hatred leveled against Cooke -- not just as a player but as a person -- should probably begin with this rant by legendary hockey commentator Don Cherry.

Scott Walker -- Jan. 20, 2009

Discipline: two-game suspension

So began a series of blows, while playing for Pittsburgh, involving his opponent's head. Cooke seems surprised by how Walker approaches and gets in his face.

The refs gave him a minor penalty for interference.

Artem Anisimov -- Nov. 28, 2009

Discipline: two-game suspension

This hit went down in the same way, on nearly the same patch of ice, as the previous one. In both incidents, his opponent never saw it coming. Here, Anisimov's head and helmet fly in separate directions.

Again, Cooke was also given a minor penalty for interference.

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