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September 17, 2014

Wild’s Matt Cooke set to play 1,000th game

Wild forward Matt Cooke will reach a milestone Tuesday when he plays his 1,000th career game, NBC Sports reports.

Cooke, 35, will join an elite bunch when he plays in game No. 1,000 – something only 285 other players have done in NHL history, the Star Tribune reports. Three other Wild players have also reached the 1,000 game mark, including Keith Carney, Andrew Brunette and Matt Cullen.

Cooke is scheduled to play in the Wild’s match-up against the Edmonton Oilers Tuesday night at the Xcel Energy Center. Both the Wild and NHL are reportedly going to honor Cooke before the game.

The forward is reaching the 1,000 mark on his fourth team, following stints in Vancouver, Washington and Pittsburgh. In the 2011-2012 season, Cooke scored a career-high 19 goals at the age of 33.

The Pioneer Press says Cooke has recorded 162 goals, 222 assists and 1,120 penalty minutes in his previous 999 regular season games. Despite his longevity, Cooke says his ride through the NHL hasn’t been easy.

“I wasn’t a first-round draft pick and there were a lot of naysayers. It hasn’t been easy. It was a roller coaster at times,” Cooke tells the Pioneer Press. “The cool thing for me is I feel I went through two different eras of the NHL just to get to this one.

Cooke’s tenure has been peppered with controversy, including a rash of disciplinary issues, NBC Sports says. While in Pittsburgh, according to TSN, Cooke put a blindside hit on Boston Bruins center Marc Savard in 2010 that led to the end of Savard’s career.

Savard suffered a concussion from the hit by Cooke, which led to NHL reforms on hits to the head, USA Today said.

 

During the 2010-2011 season, Cooke was suspended five times – four of which were for hits to the head, NBC Sports says.

This season, Cooke has earned 24 points in 64 games for the Wild, and has played an average of close to 16 minutes per night.