In the teams' first meeting since Savard was hurt by a shoulder-to-head hit March 7 in Pittsburgh, Cooke and Boston's Shawn Thornton dropped their gloves at 1:58 of the first period Thursday night, 5 seconds after Cooke took the ice for the first time to loud boos.
"For me, I didn't intend on hurting Marc Savard at all. I'm sorry that he's hurt," Cooke told reporters after the game. "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 Avalanche 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.
During a brief exchange, one punch knocked Cooke's helmet off and he dropped to the ice while Thornton kept swinging with Cooke crouched in a vulnerable position. Each was given a major penalty for fighting and Thornton got a 10-minute misconduct for continuing to swing.
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."
Savard is out indefinitely after being hurt with 5:37 left in Pittsburgh's 2-1 win. Cooke was not penalized or suspended for what Boston coach Claude Julien called "definitely a dirty hit."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.