Matt Cooke celebrated a goal in October.
Wild notes: Matt Cooke not a fan of Cookie Monster song
- Article by: Michael Russo
- Star Tribune
- December 6, 2013 - 10:02 PM
COLUMBUS, OHIO – Fans seem to love it, but Matt Cooke isn’t fond of the Cookie Monster song — “C is for Cookie” — Xcel Energy Center game operations folks play after he scores goals at home.
“I don’t feel like I deserve my own song,” Cooke said Friday — one night after the Sesame Street song blared from the X’s speakers after he scored the game-opening goal in a 4-3 Wild win over the Chicago Blackhawks. “I don’t score enough for them to be playing a song just for me.
“The things that make me tick are team success and that’s individualizing it, and it’s not me. If they continue to do it, that’s their choice — not mine.”
Regardless, Cooke entered Friday’s Columbus contest with two goals in three games. He played three terrific games in a row after coach Mike Yeo reunited the Cooke-Kyle Brodziak-Torrey Mitchell training camp line
That line was cohesive in the preseason but was broken up by the season opener. Mitchell began the year on the fourth line because youngsters Mikael Granlund and Nino Niederreiter earned second- and third-line roster spots.
Cooke, 35, also says he’s playing better recently because he’s found ways to be more physical. Cooke has worked hard to clean up his act after years of questionable hits with Vancouver and Pittsburgh.
“There’s this constant tweaking to make sure you’re trusting there are opportunities to be physical without it being reckless,” Cooke said. “My problem has been once an incident happens and it’s a close call, I tend to shy away from it. At times, I’m overexaggerating on the cautious side.”
Cooke said lately, through video reinforcement, he’s become more engaged.
“I need to be physical, especially in games against Chicago and teams we feel are a good test for us,” said Cooke, who’s second on the Wild with 70 hits — one behind Niederreiter.
Cooke’s game has also taken off since Yeo demoted him to the fourth line a week ago. The downgrade only lasted four shifts because linemate Zenon Konopka sustained an eye injury.
“It was just a matter of refocusing,” Yeo said. “Maybe that helped, but regardless, you could tell [Saturday] in Colorado, [Cooke] just had a real strong focus on the way he was going to play the game. It was a great reminder that when he’s doing those things how effective he is.”
Zach Parise has tried to weed out the post-goal, high-five bench flyby, although even Parise has been doing it recently. Cooke is the big locker-room proponent of the flyby and did a demonstrative one after scoring Thursday.
“You score a big goal, the guys on the bench want to get involved, and that’s their opportunity,” Cooke said. “It’s not fair if they’re not involved in that energy. For me, if I’m on the bench, I was to be high-fived. I think it’s important, like ‘Let’s keep going.’ That’s why I choose to do it.”
The Wild played so well Thursday, Yeo came back with the same lineup against Columbus. That meant Konopka was a healthy scratch for a second consecutive game. “Z’s going to get back in there for sure,” Yeo said. “When? It could be as early as next game [Sunday] against San Jose.”
• Marco Scandella’s second career game-winning goal with 1 minute, 48 seconds left Thursday was the second go-ahead goal in franchise history by a Wild defenseman in the last two minutes of regulation. The other was scored by Marek Zidlicky, who scored the game-winner with 39 seconds left in a 2-1 win over Columbus on Dec. 15, 2009.
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