By Nick Stoico
It was a special night in St. Paul for two Minnesota Wild skaters: Zach Parise played in his 600th NHL game, which also happened to be Matt Cooke's 1,000th.
Parise celebrated his milestone in style, putting the Wild on the board and adding an assist in a three-goal outburst in a 4:18 span in the first period against the Edmonton Oilers. It was the 22nd tally of the season for the Minneapolis native who is in his second season with the Wild after spending his first seven in the NHL with the New Jersey Devils. Parise is second on the team in goals and points (40) despite playing in just 49 of Minnesota's 65 games thus far this season. (Unfortunately, the Wild couldn't hold the lead and lost, 4-3, in a shootout.)
The 35-year-old Cooke is in first season with Minnesota and has missed just one game this season.
Throughout his 15-season career, Cooke has always been known as a particularly aggressive player, having been fined and suspended numerous times for illegal hits. He reformed his game in recent seasons, and was even nominated for the Masterton Trophy as the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to ice hockey. Over the course of his career, he's notched 162 goals and 384 points, while being an integral penalty killer for the Canucks, Penguins, and now the Wild. As the Star Tribune's Michael Russo notes, Cooke's first game, first goal, and now his 1,000th game have all come against the Oilers.
What better way to celebrate a longtime veteran's 1,000th game? Well, with a nice montage and some rather cheesy music of course: