Todd Bertuzzi done for the year


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TORONTO -- Todd Bertuzzi of the Vancouver Canucks was suspended for at least the rest of the regular season and the playoffs by the NHL on Thursday for attacking Colorado's Steve Moore.

Bertuzzi's eligibility for next season will be determined by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman before the start of training camp.

In addition, the Canucks were fined $250,000.

"This is not a part of our game, it has no place in our game and it will not be tolerated in our game," Bettman said in a conference call Thursday.

Bettman described the league's ruling as "stern, harsh and quick."

"I think we will ultimately be judged on our response and the message that it sends," he said.

Bertuzzi sat out Wednesday's 1-1 tie with Minnesota and will miss the final 12 games of the regular season, forfeiting at least $500,000. The suspension will amount to a minimum of 17 games if the Canucks make the playoffs and are swept in a first-round series.

Vancouver is fourth in the Western Conference standings. Bertuzzi is the team's second-leading scorer with 17 goals and 43 assists.

The All-Star forward slugged Moore in the side of the head late in Monday night's 9-2 victory by the Avalanche. He hit Moore from behind and drove his head into the ice. Moore landed face-first -- with the 245-pound Bertuzzi on top of him -- and lay in a pool of blood for several minutes before he was removed on a stretcher.

Moore is out for the season with a broken neck. He also sustained a concussion and deep cuts on his face, and remained hospitalized in Vancouver.

"I'm convinced the league was careful to take into account all the elements and acted with a clear sense of what was fair for all parties involved," Avalanche president and general manager Pierre Lacroix said in a statement. "Steve Moore's complete recovery continues to be our main concern.''

NHL vice president Colin Campbell said there were no excuses for Bertuzzi's actions.

"It was wrong. It wasn't anything else but wrong," Campbell said. "I'm sure Todd Bertuzzi would like to turn the clock back, turn the calendar. And I'm sure we've all made wrong decisions we're not proud of ... but we don't like it, we deal with it."

Canucks general manager Brian Burke scheduled a news conference for later Thursday.

The previous longest suspension handed out by the league was 23 games, to Boston's Marty McSorley in February of 2000, and Tampa Bay's Gordie Dwyer in September 2000.

In fining the Canucks, Campbell ruled that while the organization did not encourage or condone Bertuzzi's action, the franchise must accept some responsibility.

Both teams had been warned by the league about retaliation for a hit by Moore on Canucks' captain Markus Naslund on Feb. 16. Naslund sustained a concussion and missed three games.

"We felt they could have done more in this situation to control their players," Campbell said. "We don't feel they took the temperature down."

Bettman, in ruling next season on Bertuzzi's eligibility, will take into account Moore's health and the progression of his recovery, Campbell said.

The decision comes a day after Bertuzzi had an hour-long hearing at the NHL office in Toronto.

Bertuzzi and Burke returned to Vancouver after attending the hearing and met briefly with teammates before addressing reporters.

An emotional Bertuzzi apologized to Moore.

"These comments are for Steve. I had no intention of hurting you,'' Bertuzzi said Wednesday night, reading a statement before the Canucks played the Wild.

"I feel awful for what transpired," he said.

Bertuzzi spoke with his wife, Julie, agent Pat Morris and members of the Canucks management staff alongside. He choked up three times during his three-minute address.

"To the game of hockey and the fans of Vancouver, for the kids that watch this game, I am truly sorry," Bertuzzi said. "I don't play the game that way. I'm not a mean-spirited person and I'm sorry for what happened."

B.C. Solicitor General Rich Coleman and Vancouver police are investigating the punch, the second time in four years police have looked into an on-ice hit at an NHL game in the city.

"To Steve's family, I'm sorry you had to go through this and I'm sorry again for what happened out there," the right wing said. "I'm relieved to hear that Steve is going to have a full recovery, it means a lot to me to know that's going to happen."

In February 2000, McSorley was charged for hitting then-Vancouver Canuck Donald Brashear with his stick. McSorley was convicted of assault with a weapon, but he received an 18-month conditional discharge, meaning no jail time and no criminal record after probation.

The league suspended him for a year, ending his 17-year NHL career.

When Moore's condition improves, he'll be transferred to Craig Hospital in Denver and evaluated by neurosurgeons, the Avalanche said.

Bertuzzi was an All-Star last season when he was fifth in the league in scoring. This year, he was an All-Star again and has 60 points.

http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/news/story?id=1756628

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I never really cared much for his style of play, anyway.

I have always wondered why events at sporting matches like this are not considered "assualt and battery" as it would be if I just hit some random guy on the street like this.

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because it's been "part of the game" for the last 90 years. only recently have the police started to look into those kind of hits because people at the games are asking them to do so. i don't think they would have launched an investigation if there were no complaints from the fans at the game.

It's always going be a question of what if's. In looking at it objectively, if it wasn't for the broken neck, not much would have been made of this, maybe a 1 or 2 game suspension. What if the hit on Naslund broke his neck? It could have happened, what then? I definitely don't condone jumping the guy from behind, but you have to protect star players.

Now that doesn't mean treat them with kid gloves, but don't cheep shot them, you know when a guy is totally vulnerable when your coming up on him. I think the league itself has to do better, or the players will always feel obliged to do it themselves. When the threat of retaliation comes in the form of recorded words, thats when the league should have stepped in and fined the Canucks and the players who threatened that action.

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because it's been "part of the game" for the last 90 years. only recently have the police started to look into those kind of hits because people at the games are asking them to do so. i don't think they would have launched an investigation if there were no complaints from the fans at the game.

It's always going be a question of what if's. In looking at it objectively, if it wasn't for the broken neck, not much would have been made of this, maybe a 1 or 2 game suspension. What if the hit on Naslund broke his neck? It could have happened, what then? I definitely don't condone jumping the guy from behind, but you have to protect star players.

Now that doesn't mean treat them with kid gloves, but don't cheep shot them, you know when a guy is totally vulnerable when your coming up on him. I think the league itself has to do better, or the players will always feel obliged to do it themselves. When the threat of retaliation comes in the form of recorded words, thats when the league should have stepped in and fined the Canucks and the players who threatened that action.

I couldn't totaly agree with yo more on this subject.

Its gonna suck not having Bertuzzi on the canucks line up cause he is an awsome player but what happens, happens and he's luckey for what he got.

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I have a problem with this kind of stuff. Hockey is a brutal sport, I have played it for almost 10 years now and have been hurt numerous times and been in countless fights. I can not think of one incident where I got out of control, to the point where I wanted to rip someones head off. Atleast not when they did something to me, because I am generally cool headed. I only get upset with cheap shots on my teammates or when another player disrespects the game. I have kicked a teammates ass for swinging his stick at someone on the other teams. I have always thought about hockey in the sense of: game, team, self. I do not want to disrespect those who came before me, those on my team and lastly myself. I also believe in leaving it on the ice, once a game is over, you erase all the emotions of that contest. If you carry emotions over to the nest game, you will faulter.

In Bertuzzi's case you see what happened. He took that hit on Naslund earlier in the season personally, said there would be retribution. Does he not remember Steve Moore got into a fight earlier that game, before he hit him? You want to take care of him, drop the gloves, be a man. Moore probably would not have fought him, seeing that Todd has like 30+ lbs on him. The act was not that bad from Bertuzzi, it was a punch from behind. I have done that and had it happen to me aswell. But I don't weight 245, my 170 lbs will not knock someone unconcious. I do it to get someones attention, because I probably want to go at it with them or try to get them to take a penalty. Bertuzzi went in with full intent to hurt. We all know he didn't have the angle of the replays to know Moore was knocked out, so when he drove his face into the ice, he didn't know he wouldn't breace himself a little. The suspension is justified, and Bertuzzi should be suspended as long as Moore is out.

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