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Pens' Cooke suspended two games by NHL

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Monday, Nov. 30, 2009

Winger Matt Cooke said Saturday night he was "surprised" officials penalized him for interference after a hit on New York Rangers forward Artem Anisimov late in the Penguins' 8-3 win at Mellon Arena.

Anisimov left the game after that hit and did not return.

"They guy was coming across the middle, and I finished my check," Cooke said after the game — the last he will play until Saturday against Chicago, after the NHL suspended him for two games Sunday night.

The league ruled Cooke deliberately checked Anisimov in the head area. Since Cooke was suspended for two games in January, he is considered a repeat offender under terms of the collective bargaining agreement. He will forfeit around $29,000 in salary. That money will go to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund.

Though Cooke and his teammates defended his hit after the game Saturday, many Rangers players felt it was "dirty."

"Yeah, definitely," forward Ryan Callahan said. "It's a blind side. I think that's one of the things (the NHL) is trying to address ... right now, when a guy's not ready and taking a shot at his head."

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