If hockey were real estate, you could say that last summer the Wild went searching for a house, something more sturdy than flashy, built more for day-to-day living than curb appeal.
If hockey were real estate, you could say that Matt Cooke was that house, a modest stone building featuring a freshly sodded lawn and a new, whitewashed, picket fence.
Here’s the problem: If Matt Cooke were a house, his basement would be filled with mold. Not hidden in the walls. Creeping up the stairs.
So when the Wild signed Cooke, after much due diligence and several walkthroughs, team management could blame only itself when the mold it saw in the basement eventually made the house unlivable.
Monday night, Cooke made like Benjamin Button. He reprised his career in reverse.
For the first 22 minutes, he played the kind of chippy-but-responsible game that has characterized his play over the past two regular seasons.