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Q&A With Matt Cooke

I didn't have a whole lot of time with Matt Cooke this morning, but he had some interesting things to say about leaving Vancouver, his role here in Washington and why he's not playing in New Jersey tonight. Here's some of what he had to say:

Q: Why aren't you playing tonight?
A: "Obviously, this was my first practice. Sergei [Fedorov] had a chance to practice yesterday and get a grasp of things. I'll be in tomorrow night hopefully."

Q: Is there a big adjustment?
A: "Yeah. Quite a bit actually. It's a pressure team here. Whereas Vancouver was more sit back and let them come to you. I think I'm fortunate because [the Caps' system] kind of fits my style."

Q: How would you describe your game?
A: "I like to get in on the forecheck, create some energy for my team, get some hits -- some big hits -- and chip in on offense."

Q: Being a UFA this summer, have considered your future?
A: "I'm not even worried about that right now. I just got here. There's lots of time to worry about that. We'll see how things go here, hopefully well. My personal goal is to do whatever I can to help this team make the playoffs. That's my sole focus. After that, who knows."

"I want to bring some of my [leadership] and my playoff experience here to this team."

Q: What was your reaction to being traded and leaving the only NHL team you've ever known?
A: "I spent 10 years and hadn't been traded before. Emotionally, with the players who had been there the whole time and the trainers, initially you don't realize how close you are to those people."

"But now, being a couple of days removed from that, being in this situation, I played juniors with Matt Bradley, I played in Vancouver with Brashear and I played during the lockout with Olie, so I'm really familiar with some of the guys here, which makes it an easier transition."

Q: Why was your arrival delayed?
A: "When you work in the States, I needed a P1 [entertainer's work visa]. The guy in immigration said I was lucky, because it usually takes two or three weeks. But the team was able to get it done in a day and half, which was nice."

Cooke is expected to make his Capitals debut tomorrow against the Leafs at Verizon Center.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  February 29, 2008; 6:25 PM ET
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Next: Tonight's Lineup vs. Toronto and Other Notes

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