Matt Cooke met the media here at Xcel Energy Center this afternoon. WildTV video will be posted shortly.
Cooke, who signed a three-year deal last Friday with the Wild said there were “five or six” teams that approached him as a free agent.
He said Minnesota was the best fit for him because of his previous relationship with Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher and Head Coach Mike Yeo, both of whom previously were with the Pittsburgh Penguins organization.
“I’m a guy that needs to win,” Cooke said. “I wanted to be in a situation primed to win and I believe the Wild are right on the cusp.”
The 34-year-old will wear No. 24 previously worn by the late Derek Boogaard. He reached out to Boogaard’s family via email to ask for permission to wear the number.
“The response I got [from the Boogaard’s] was overwhelming and appreciative,” Cooke said.
In terms of what he envisions his role to be with the Wild, Cooke said this, “I want to stabilize the third line, and play in a shutdown role.”
Cooke believes he will be a calming influence in the locker room, contribute on the penalty kill, and chip in offensively as well.
A player who has been suspended multiple times by the NHL for hits earlier in his career, Cooke has played in every game the past two seasons, while only committing 80 PIM.
Two years ago Cooke said he did 30-40 hours of breaking down video of his technique to try and change his physical approach and hitting style.
“I can play the rest of my career without a suspension, but there will still be naysayers,” said Cooke.
Today is Day 3 of the Wild Development Camp. We will have more updates after the afternoon skating sessions are completed. Until then listen to our PONDcast with Erik Haula and Tyler Graovac.
The defenseman skating session just ended. A lot of emphasis today was placed on passing. Players worked on passing as a tandem on the blue line and making the simple passes.
A couple of drills involved gathering the puck along the boards and firing a quick shot from the blue line. At the end of the session the nets were moved to the same zone along the boards to create a 4-on-4 tournament.
The forwards were on the second session of ice time this afternoon. They started out with some skating drills to warmup and then went into shooting.
All the drills have been working with the puck around the net. At first the forwards would receive the puck behind the net and have to go around to score.
Next they put a wood block in front of the net and fired shots off it. The objective was to seize the rebound off the block and shoot a wrist shot.
The next two drills tested their hand-eye coordination. The first exercise began with a player launching saucer passes to their partner in front of the net. The player would have to knock the puck out of the air and control it then fire a shot on goal.
After that players would skate figure eights around cones outside the net and try to tip in rebounds off wrist shots.
The forwards ended up practicing on handling a puck along the boards while a defender tried to play physical and steal the puck. The session ended with a 4-on-4 tournament.