|Matt Cooke, the Minnesota Wild's new agitator|
Matt Cooke sprints towards the offensive zone and pushes his opponent against the boards. After forcing the puck free with his stick, he sneaks unnoticed in front of the goal. All eyes are on his teammate Kyle Brodziak, who fires low. Cooke quickly angles his right skate and deflects the tiny rocket into the corner of the net
It's only 64 seconds into the Minnesota Wild's home opener against the L.A. Kings on Thursday and Cooke has already quieted his hometown critics. The Wild would lose the game 3-2, during an overtime shootout, but Cooke's goal gave the team an early boost of momentum. From then on, the sprinkling of boos that had preceded the start of the game were buried in applause.
But there's no telling how long that will last. Night in and night out, for the rest of the season -- probably for the rest of his career -- Cooke will be subject to intense scrutiny because of his history of questionable hits.
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