It’s been a couple long off-days, which is why coach Mike Yeo even began his presser today by joking that there’s nothing new from yesterday.

Good afternoon from the press room, where every cubicle if full of “hard-working” beat writers. I’ll be on KFAN at 5:55 p.m. with Dan Barreiro.

Matt Cooke’s long-anticipated return from a seven-game suspension tonight. He’ll skate on the left side of Erik Haula and Justin Fontaine.

“I’ve been ready to go since I haven’t been able to play, so the time is finally here and I just want to go out and battle with my teammates,” Cooke said. “I’ve got a lot of praise for the guys in this room. They’ve done a great job, battling with adversity, up in games, down in games, tough travel. They’ve done a great job and I’m just thankful that I get a chance to go out and play with them again.”
Yesterday, coach Mike Yeo said he would talk to Cooke to see where his head’s at. Will he be nipping at the bud to send somebody into outer space or will he be tentative?

Cue Cookie: “I don’t think it’s tentative. I trust the process that I’ve been through. I feel like I can go out there and continue to play the way I did the last three years, and if I do that then I’m going to bring energy for our team. I’m going to help out on the PK and hopefully help our team win.”

He did have this gem: “Obviously, I don’t want to see anyone get hurt and neither does anyone else, but you also don’t want this to be a figure-skating contest out there. It’s something I’ve tried to pride myself on, especially here over the last three years that you can play physical without being at risk.”
On playing with the two rooks, Cooke said, “Two kids that can skate really fast and really well. Erik’s done a great job. He’s been put in the situation to play against top lines and part of that’s his speed, competitive level and the third part of that is probably goes unnoticed his skill. We should look to go out and look to spend time in the offensive zone and that’s what’s most important for our line.