You know that trademark missing tooth of Matt Cooke’s?
It was courtesy of Los Angeles Kings captain Dustin Brown, who coincidentally was Public Enemy No. 1 among Wild fans in Thursday’s opener because he concussed Jason Pominville with a suspendible elbow in the third-to-last game last season.
In 2006, Brown nailed Cooke, who made his Wild debut Thursday, with an elbow when Cooke played for the Vancouver Canucks. Cooke hit his face on the ice, lost a tooth and was knocked out.
He never got it fixed. He has a fake tooth but rarely puts in because “that’s not who I am.”
Brown says Cooke, like him, is somebody “you’re always aware of when he’s on the ice. You keep your head up.”
Brown remembers the battle scar he gave Cooke.
“The puck was coming up the wall, I got it, he was coming to hit me, and I think I surprised him,” Brown said, laughing. “It wasn’t a pretty scene. I mean, I had full control of the puck and I just got him before he got me and it didn’t work out well for him.
“It wasn’t unlike the Pominville play actually, but it was a different game back then and I didn’t get in trouble.”
Cooke doesn’t blame Brown, which doesn’t surprise Brown.
“Most players who dish it understand that if you’re going to give it out, you’re going to have to take it,” Brown said.
Recently, Cooke told a humorous story about his wife, Michelle, getting upset with him after he didn’t put in his fake tooth while driving his children to their first day of school.
“My wife looks at me and goes, ‘Really? The first day of school, you couldn’t put your teeth in? What would you think if you saw some dad with no tooth and a beard dropping kids off?’ ” Cooke said. “I was like, ‘Sorry, that’s not me.’ ”
Stoner bumps Dumba
Rookie defenseman Matt Dumba will have to wait until at least Saturday against Anaheim to make his NHL debut. Veteran Clayton Stoner played in lieu of Dumba against the Kings.
“I thought he looked a little jittery the last couple practices,” coach Mike Yeo said of Dumba. “The execution wasn’t quite there.”
Yeo knows Dumba will be nervous whenever he first plays, but Yeo figured the home opener would really cause butterflies. Plus, Yeo felt playing the bigger, more experienced Stoner against the big, physical Kings would be the right move.
Yeo enjoyed Roy’s meltdown
Colorado Avalanche coach Patrick Roy was fined $10,000 Thursday for getting into a volatile verbal exchange with Anaheim Ducks player Corey Perry, then coach Bruce Boudreau late in his NHL debut Wednesday. Roy twice pushed the glass partition between benches.
“I’m getting ready,” joked Yeo, referring to future Wild-Avs division battles. “It was entertaining, I’ll say that. It was entertaining.”
Yeo joked that from now out, he plans to give the partition at Pepsi Center a “good, hard whack in warm-up to see if it’s off its hinges.”
UMD reaches NHL milestone
Justin Fontaine because the 50th Minnesota Duluth player to skate in an NHL game Thursday. His parents and other family members and friends attended the game.
“It’s definitely exciting to get my first taste of the regular season in the NHL,” Fontaine said. “It’s something I’ve worked toward my whole life.”
• Left wing Mike Rupp, on injured reserve after offseason knee surgery, skated with the team at Thursday’s skate.
• Jason Zucker is still hurting from his preseason groin injury with Minnesota. He missed Wednesday’s Iowa Wild scrimmage because of soreness.
• Former Gophers captain Taylor Matson and former Wild Warren Peters made Iowa’s opening night roster on pro tryouts. Both are forwards.