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Penguins notebook: Cooke won't let distractions take away from main focus

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By Josh Yohe
Thursday, May 30, 2013, 8:18 p.m.

• Left wing Matt Cooke's personal road to another Stanley Cup is taking him through the cities where he is most hated. Next is Boston. Cooke is infamous in Boston for throwing the 2010 hit that contributed to ending center Marc Savard's career. Although Cooke was not penalized or suspended for the hit, it was the kind of “head shot” no longer allowed in the NHL. Cooke recently was in the spotlight in Ottawa because of a hit that injured star Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson. “I can't control people's opinions,” he said of the disdain many in Boston have for him. “I've learned that fans have emotions toward certain things, and they're going to be attached to them. I need to go out and prepare to play against the Bruins.” Cooke doesn't have a goal this postseason but has been praised for his physical play and penalty killing. “Cookie's been unbelievable,” right wing Tyler Kennedy said.

• Left wing Chris Kunitz returned to practice Thursday after missing Wednesday's workout. Penguins policy prohibits injury information being made public during the postseason, but it's known that Kunitz was injured in Game 4 against Ottawa. He missed a portion of the second period but returned for the third period and played in Game 5. He's expected to play in Game 1 against the Bruins.

• Many Penguins players have complained this week about the Consol Energy Center ice, which never has been strong since the building opened in 2010. With temperatures expected to be near 90 degrees Friday and Saturday, players voiced concern that the ice's condition will only regress.

• The Penguins had a fairly rigorous 60-minute workout Thursday and will practice again Friday. Every player participated in Thursday's practice.

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