Rangers Messier suspended for two games

March 22, 2004 at 4:57 PM

TORONTO, March 22 (UPI) -- The National Hockey League Monday suspended 43-year-old New York Rangers center Mark Messier for two games for a spearing incident.

Messier, the Rangers' captain, was suspended without pay and will miss games against Pittsburgh and Nashville this week. He'll lose about $44,000 in pay.

Messier was given a match penalty for spearing (jabbing an opponent with the blade of a hockey stick) Pittsburgh defenseman Martin Strbak in the second period of a 4-3 overtime loss to the Penguins Sunday.

Strbak hit the ice but was not seriously injured.

"I just gave him a little push from behind," Strbak said later. "I can't understand why he reacted the way he did. I felt a big pain and I lost my breath for a while. I respect

Mark Messier, great hockey player, a legend. I don't know what happened."

Messier has 17 goals and 25 assists in 75 games this season.

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