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Matt Cooke said he has a “flipper” — a type of denture — but finds it uncomfortable and prefers to go toothless.

MARLIN LEVISON • mlevison@startribune.com,

Getting to know the Wild's new 'Cookie Monster'

  • July 11, 2013 - 3:09 AM

Matt Cooke was introduced as the newest member of the Wild on Wednesday. Here are a few of the highlights from that event:

• At age 34, he is the “oldest skating player, anyway,” on the team, Cooke joked. Goalie Niklas Backstrom, 35, is older.

• His nicknames are “Cookie” and “Cookie Monster,” and he says in Vancouver, some fans would actually come to games and sit there the whole time in Cookie Monster costumes.

• Cooke, on his trademark missing upper and lower teeth: “I have a flipper, and it’s probably the most uncomfortable thing I’ve ever had in my life. And I feel like it’s not me. So I don’t ever wear it. I can put it in for press conferences, but that’s not who I am.”

• Cooke, on being a marked man: “A lot of times I just get two minutes for being Matt Cooke. My wife joked, ‘maybe you should actually change your number so you confuse the referees and they don’t see 24 and automatically give you a penalty.’”

• Cooke, on whether he has to mend any fences with any new teammates: “It’s funny. The first text I got was from Zach [Parise], and before I said anything, I told him, ‘Once I see you in person, I’ll apologize for any past run-ins.’ ... He texted me back, ‘Don’t worry about it. I’ve had a lot worse.’ ”

• On his personality: “I’m sarcastic and a prankster. And not just with teammates. Trust me, I already have something planned for the media on the first day of media day, but I don’t want to let the cat out of the bag.”

• On why he signed with Minnesota over what he says were five or six teams: “I’m a guy that needs to win. I’m a team-first type of guy and I don’t think I would do so well in a situation that maybe isn’t primed to win and win often. I feel like this team is. I feel like this team is right on the cusp of doing some great things and hopefully I can come in and help that. Obviously my relationship with Mike Yeo and Chuck Fletcher from previously in Pittsburgh helped solidify that situation.”

• On his style: “I think I can come in and hopefully stabilize the third line, the checking line. I can go out and play against a top line night in and night out. Hopefully I can be a calming influence in the room.”

MICHAEL RUSSO

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