Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 07/08/13 at 09:43 AM ET
from Jim Souhan of the Star Tribune,
The last time a Wild general manager acquired a goon who drove his fan base to take up pitchforks and tuck away checkbooks, he might as well have put his house on the market.
Chuck Fletcher’s signing of Matt Cooke is not a direct equivalent to Doug Risebrough bringing in Chris Simon, but both moves were made for the same reason and raised the same question: Did the GM know what he was doing?
Risebrough brought in Simon to toughen up a soft team, and his reaction to fan and media outrage over the move suggested he hadn’t fully investigated Simon’s bad acts.
Simon wound up playing little and poorly, and his history of comic-book-villain violence stained the reputation of a franchise that, to that point, had turned marketing and brand-building into an exact science. Simon didn’t make that Wild team any better, and his arrival became Risebrough’s perceptual Waterloo, a Mossy Cade on skates.
Fletcher, like Risebrough, is desperate to find tough players who don’t, like Zenon Konopka, go directly from the bench to the penalty box. Fletcher, like Risebrough, may have underestimated his fan base’s hatred of a goon.
Cooke is a cheap-shot artist. He is a dirty player.
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