FREE AGENT PREVIEW: MATT COOKE

For a team that plays so close to the beach, the Los Angeles Kings lack sand where they need it most; in the cracks of their asses. The kind of sand that makes you irritable and liable to snap at any moment. The kind that has been baking in the sun too long and keeps other teams’ on their toes. To fill this need, I bring you 2009 Stanley Cup champ Matt Cooke.

While the Kings are by no means an overly soft team, they could use another player or two who carries around a chip on their shoulder. Not some dumb goon or no-talent hack with a license to annoy, but rather a player who not only understands the game on both sides of the puck, but the game played inside the mind. Cooke is a little asshole. The kind of guy Dean Lombardi would call a criminal on the ice, and as the chieftain himself has said before (in reference to John Zeiler), “Every good army needs a couple of criminals.”

You may say, “But Surly, we have the Clunatic now!” I would respond that yes we do, but can the Clunatic score 10-15 goals a year? Can he put up 30 points? Do you trust him on the penalty kill? Those are all questions even the most optimistic of Clune-lover’s would have to answer “no”. Well Matt Cooke can do those things. He can also step it up in the playoffs. Can you imagine a checking line of Cooke-Handzus-Simmonds? I would, but I’m likely to salivate, and my keyboard isn’t waterproof.

I have my doubts that the Penguins will let Cooke walk away to another team, but he doesn’t have a contract yet. His current cap hit is $1.2 million, an absolute steal for what he brings to the table. If Cooke decides to test the free agent market, he could likely see a raise up to $2 million, perhaps more, and at age 30, he isn’t getting any younger. Such an overpayment may be necessary to land the spark plug, nogoodnik, pesky little sandpaper-laden douche bag of a forward, but those extra few bucks could pay off big come the post season.

Two weeks ago, didn’t you find yourself wishing that someone would have put an elbow through Alex Edler’s head? That a man with a crown on his chest would spit in Burrows’ face and tell him his mother is terrible in bed, then back up his words with his fists?

If you answered yes, then Matt Cooke is your man.



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