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After signing with Minnesota, veteran Matt Cooke still trying to shed rough-stuff reputation

Monday, 07.08.2013 / 5:15 PM The Canadian Press

Matt Cooke says he's not the same player whose on-ice transgressions have led to five suspensions by the NHL over his 14-season career.

Cooke signed a three-year, $7.5 million contract with Minnesota on Friday, the last and most startling move made by the Wild on a busy first day of free agency. They also traded forward Devin Setoguchi, let forwards Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Matt Cullen sign with other teams, signed defenceman Keith Ballard and re-signed defenceman Jared Spurgeon.

Cooke has long been one of the most-loathed opposing players among Wild fans, dating to his aggressive performance in the 2003 playoffs when he was with Vancouver. Cooke also found trouble for various hits in recent seasons with Pittsburgh.

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