Wild's Cooke says he's ready to go, but Yeo says no


Minnesota Wild forward Matt Cooke likely won't play on Thursday night when the Minnesota Wild face off with St. Louis in Game 1 of their Western Conference quarterfinal series.

Cooke returned to practice on Wednesday, but was limited and served as the extra skater. He was sidelined for 31 games after surgery to repair a sports hernia, but returned for the last two games of the regular season.

While Cooke indicated he'd be ready to play Thursday night, Wild coach Mike Yeo had other ideas.

"I don't think he's ready for tomorrow," Yeo told reporters Wednesday. "But I don't see why Game 2 would not be a real strong possibility."

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Cooke has played in 103 Stanley Cup playoff games – more than any other Wild player. He and Ryan Carter are the only two members of the Wild who have ever won a Stanley Cup.

"I'm available," Cooke told the Pioneer Press. "At the end of the day, it's the coach's decision. If he calls my number to play, I'll play."

Cooke finished the season with four goals and five assists in 29 games.

"I pushed it pretty hard to get back and get on the ice a lot and skate a lot to make sure my conditioning was where it was supposed to be," Cooke told FOX Sports North. "It felt pretty good in the two games that I played. But it's still going to be, I'm still in a situation that throughout the playoffs, I'm going to have to gauge how it recovers."

Cooke practiced with the fourth line on Monday before he missed Tuesday's practice, since Yeo has taken the opportunity to take a few different looks.

Like Cooke, both Carter and Bergenheim have significant playoff experience and Yeo thinks all three bring a little something different to the lineup.

"It's kind of a luxury for us," said Yeo. "We have different players with identities and one player can change the dimension of the whole line."

Bergenheim has been solid in the post season. In 23 playoff games for Tampa Bay and Florida he's scored 12 goals and had five assists.

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