Pittsburgh Penguins winger Matt Cooke, who was confronted by the Bruins' Shawn Thornton seconds after stepping on the ice Thursday in retaliation for Cooke's blindside hit on the Bruins' Marc Savard on March 7, spoke with reporters after Pittsburgh's 3-0 win at TD Garden.
“For me, I didn’t intend on hurting Marc Savard at all. I’m sorry that he's hurt,” Cooke said. “I’ve been part of a game like this before in Vancouver and I wanted to do my part to make sure that something like that didn’t happen again.”
Cooke was referring to an incident in 2004 when he was a member of the Vancouver Canucks. Cooke's then-teammate Markus Naslund had suffered a concussion after being hit by Colorado forward Steve Moore. Cooke immediately dropped the gloves and went after Moore. But in the teams' next meeting, Vancouver's Todd Bertuzzi sucker-punched Moore, ending his career.
To his credit, Cooke immediately dropped his gloves when confronted by Thornton, who connected on a few punches. After the two fell to the ice and the linesmen jumped in, Thornton kept throwing punches and then had words with Cooke.
Both were given five minutes for fighting at 1:58 of the first period, but Thornton also was given a 10-minute misconduct.
When asked if Thornton took liberties by throwing more punches after Cooke hit the ice, Cooke said, “The fight was a fight. Things happen. I’ve got nothing else to say.”