Updated: 09/17/2013 1:29 PM
Created: 09/17/2013 12:55 PM KSTP.com
By: Heidi Enninga
The nearly 3,000 fans at an inter-squad scrimmage Sunday got the first look at Minnesota Wild newcomer Matt Cooke and his new, cleaner, approach to the game.
Players and fans alike might be wary of Cooke who has just as many NHL suspensions for dirty and dangerous plays as trips to the playoffs. Cooke told 1500 ESPN that he hopes he can change perceptions.
“I'm a different player now, and somehow, some way, with this being the State of Hockey, I believe if for some reason I was on this side doing the same things, they'd be loving me,” Cooke said. “So I ask for patience, and hopefully after three or four shifts their opinions will change."
Cooke helped the Pittsburg Penguins to a 2009 Stanley Cup. He was suspended twice late in the 2010-2011 season, which forced him to miss the first round of playoffs.
Coach Mike Yeo maintained his confidence in Cooke’s ability as player.
“There’s a reason why he's here,” Yeo said. “He's more than what is advertised or what the perception might be for him. He's a guy that penalty killing and the physical part of his game, those are all part of his identity, but he's got speed, the ability to make plays and the ability to help other guys get to their game."
Cooke scored once and assisted in another goal during Sunday’s scrimmage.
The wild take on Columbus Blue Jackets Tuesday at Xcel Energy Center in a preseason matchup.
Reporting by 1500 ESPN.