Matt Cooke's self-professed reform as a reckless, injurious player was met with healthy skepticism over the summer; despite the way the Pittsburgh Penguins winger bared his personal pain over his wife's illness in early 2011, and offered proclamations like this:
"I've got this chance, and I need to look at it as an opportunity to show everybody that I can change my approach, that I can play within the rules. The rest of my career can be proving that it's possible to change. It has to be about that. There's no excuse for it not to be about that."
Thirteen games aren't "the rest of his career," but they are a healthy sample size. In October, Matt Cooke wasn't suspended. He wasn't fined. He wasn't assessed a major penalty.
In October, Matt Cooke had four penalty minutes. Four.
Meanwhile, he had four goals. And four assists.
Welcome to the new Matt Cooke?
Stephen Catanese of SB Nation Pittsburgh noted that this was "the cleanest and most productive October of his career," researching...