The Central Division's Most Hated Players

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May 3, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins left wing Matt Cooke (right) reacts after being assessed a slashing penalty against the New York Islanders during the first period in game two of the first round of the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs at the CONSOL Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

  • #2: Matt Cooke

Matt Cooke hasn’t played a game in the Central Division, but his reputation extends far beyond division boundaries, and he is disliked around the league.

Taking out 2012 Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson was just of the tip of the iceberg for Cooke, who’s on-the-edge play has not earned him many fans.

His days in Vancouver were different than he is today. With their affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch, Cooke was a go-to offenseive player. At the NHL level, however, Cooke found that it wasn’t as easy to put up the points, and turned to another aspect of the game he excels at; physicality.

Since then, he is a sin-bin regular, and is valuable to his team when trying to get under the skin of a player. If there needs to be a fight, Cooke is the man.

Although his whole career has been a gritty one, he averaged just under a point every two games in the last two seasons, with a combined 59 in 130 games played.

With Cooke joining the Minnesota Wild, it means Central Division fans will have one more name to dread going into the 2013-14 season.

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