Former Pens’ Winger Matt Cooke: Proud Of Fleury, Excited For Crosby’s Milestone

By: Joe Kapp

PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan) — Tonight’s game against the Winnipeg Jets could be a huge night for a couple of Penguins players as Sidney Crosby tries to record his 1,000th career point, and goalie Marc-Andre Fleury possibly playing in his last home game ever.

Former Penguins winger Matt Cooke joined The Cook and Poni Show on Thursday to discuss the situations for both of his former teammates.

Cooke says he learned the first time he meant Sidney Crosby just how great of a leader he is.

“I have the utmost respect for him,” Cooke said. “Of all the players, the great players that I have played with, he is the one with the most drive, the most determination and the most desire to be the best.”

Cooke said he is not surprised that Crosby has come back after his concussion during the Winter Classic to be even better than he was before.

“I remember when he first came back, it was the most fun I’ve ever had playing hockey,” Cooke said. “I had him as a center with Tyler Kennedy, and I think I had seven goals in six games thanks to Sid.”

Cooke says he also remembers that the thing he looked forward to most when coming to the rink each day was seeing Fleury always smiling.

He says that he has always been able to take the outside noise and push it aside to focus on being the best he could be as a teammate.

“I’m proud of him for that,” Cooke said. “He has handled himself elegantly in a tough situation.”

Fleury, if moved at the NHL Trade deadline on March 1, could be starting in front of the home fans for the final time tonight.

Cooke says it will be sad to see him go if he is traded, but he knows we haven’t seen the last of him.

“I know that he is a competitor. I know that he wants to continue to play, and I know that he wants to be a starter again,” Cooke added. “Where that takes him or what path that is, I’m not really sure, but I do know this, he is still at the top of his game where he can be a number one goalie for a long time.”

Listen to the full interview here including his thoughts on Jaromir Jagr going strong at 45, his former coach being fired, and how much he loves Pittsburgh:

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