If you're like me, and you've spent pretty much your entire life living in the Upper Midwest, you are more than familiar with the newspaper The Onion. While it's presence is across the country now, especially with the advent of the internet and social media, what many do not know is that it got its start on the campus of the University of Wisconsin in Madison. What The Onion does best is find and exaggerate the absurd on just about every topic possible. To a degree, The Onion is the current day equivalent of Monty Python's Flying Circus or a print version of Saturday Night Live. For parody and satire to truly be funny, there has to be a degree of truth to it. It's the taking that bit of truth and stretching it where the humor and genius lie. Even better, is when elected officials (usually conservatives) find an article, read it and believe it, and then in outrage post it on Facebook or re-Tweet it to their followers. Case in point, do a Google search for "John Fleming and Onion" and see what you come up with. The ultimate kicker in the case of Fleming, is that the article he got outraged about was about a year old. Truth be told, I absolutely love The Onion.
Now, you're probably wondering why I'm going on and on about a newspaper based on satire. Well it's quite simple. When I read the news that the Minnesota Wild signed none other than Matt Cooke to a three-year, $7.5 million deal, I seriously thought I was reading The Onion. The other possibility was that some pre-pubescent Canucks fans were trying to punk the Wild faithful. Sadly, neither of these scenarios were true, and this time, the outlandish headline and story was the real deal. I only wish this had been a bad, bad April Fool's joke. Yes my friends, we now have one of the league's dirtiest players on our roster. Thinking back to when fans around the leauge used to complain about the actions of the late Derek Boogaard as well as Cal Clutterbuck who now calls the New York Islanders his team, I can only sit back and laugh. The past actions of Cooke make whatever Boogaard and Clutterbuck did as child's play. I know I will cringe every time he takes to the ice. This signing by Chuck Fletcher is very reminiscent of when former General Manager Doug Risebrough traded for Chris Simon, another dirty player.
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I understand that we were lacking some grit with the departure of Clutterbuck, but Matt "Dirty Cookie" Cooke? I refuse to cheer him on. I refuse to stand by him when he makes another boneheaded, reckless, dirty move on an opposing player. The sad thing is, we know it's inevitable for Cooke to mess up yet again. He's been suspended four times while with the Pittsburgh Penguins alone, including a 17-game suspension for a pointless head shot on the New York Ranger's, Ryan McDonagh. Many fans around the league are probably still wondering how he evaded a suspension for the stomp to the back of Erik Karlsson's leg, which ultimately severed his Achille's. I have no idea what was going through the mind of Fletcher and the rest of the front office. Did they seriously think this was a great acquisition? Did Fletcher actually think that fans would be on board with having Cooke on the roster?
And then if you thought getting Cooke was bad enough, Fletcher then added insult to injury by committing one of the cardinal sins of sports. That being, you do not trade players to teams within the division. That is exactly what happened when we traded Devin Setoguchi to the Winnipeg Jets for a second round pick in next year's entry draft. You almost have to wonder if he forgot that the league will have new divisions next season. It's one thing for Matt Cullen going to Nashville, because that was a free agent move. But trading a player within the division is wrong on so many levels. I probably wouldn't have been as upset by the trade if not for the Cooke signing. We ended the past season thinking that maybe things were looking for for this franchise, but all those positive thoughts and hopes are completely gone. All we're left with is a sour taste and a fear of what is yet to come.
In an attempt to make you feel even a tad bit better, I figured I'd return to how I started this, The Onion. They generally have a good time with all things related to the National Hockey League, and didn't fail when it came to this year's Stanley Cup Champion.
And yes, there were people out there who seriously thought someone shot up the Cup during the parade in Chicago.