Minnesota Wild fans didn't hide their disdain for the big-splash move GM Chuck Fletcher made a week ago, when he signed veteran forward Matt Cooke, whose career has been defined by penalties and suspensions.
If the Wild don't have some postseason success over the next couple of years, the Cooke signing could be Fletcher's downfall in the eyes of many fans.
But the real pressure shouldn't rest on the shoulders of a third-line wing who kills penalties, cycles the puck well and has used up his share of cheap shots.
The real pressure should fall on the Wild's first-line forwards who will combine to make roughly $19 million next season. That's the same trio — Mikko Koivu centering Zach Parise and Jason Pominville — that combined for exactly one point and a minus-14 plus/minus rating in the Wild's five-game first-round playoff loss to Chicago.
Parise at least appeared to be trying, the same can't be said of Koivu, who looked lost against the Blackhawks. Pominville gets an "incomplete" grade because he was saddled by an injury.
If those three can live up to their contracts, Cooke can blend into the background and not be the cente of attention.
— Jason Feldman