Matt Cooke was, and likely still is, the NHL's top villain. To Cooke's credit, though, he has been incident free so far in the 2011-2012 season.
Yes, the king of cheap shots has avoided slew footing, checking from behind, kneeing (with the exception of Mark Eaton who seemed to make it unavoidable with his path towards Cooke), and even most post-whistle scrums.
As we approach the halfway point of the season, consider that Cooke has 12 PIMs. Last season, Cooke could pick up 12 penalty minutes on a bad shift.
Since we are being honest, I also never cared for Avery. In fact, I still don't. But he can play hockey.
Much like Cooke, he gets caught up in the sideshow too much. It seems that he is back to being a healthy scratch for the Rangers recently.
Avery can still salvage his career, even if he is discarded by the Rangers. He should look to Matt Cooke as an unlikely role model. Sure Avery is a different form of pest than Cooke, but that does not make the lessons any less true.