NHL will decide length of suspension for hit that hospitalized Avs player.
By Wire services
Published March 11, 2004
TORONTO - Todd Bertuzzi will find out the length of his suspension this morning for slugging Colorado's Steve Moore from behind.
Bertuzzi, an All-Star forward for the Canucks, had an hour-long hearing at the NHL office Wednesday. He has been suspended indefinitely. Moore is out for the season with a broken neck.
Moore also sustained a concussion and deep cuts on his face, and he remained hospitalized in Vancouver, where teammates visited him Wednesday. They said he was alert and mobile.
League vice president and disciplinarian Colin Campbell said he will issue his ruling early today.
A tearful Bertuzzi read a brief statement at a news conference in Vancouver.
"Steve, I just want to apologize for what happened out there," he said. "I had no intention of hurting you and I feel awful for what transpired. To Steve's family, I'm sorry that you have to go through this."
Lightning players and coaches were disturbed by the incident but weren't ready to pass judgment.
"It's not for me to comment on what should be done, but we've all seen the highlights a number of times and it's ugly," coach John Tortorella said. "It's an ugly incident. I'll tell you one thing, it's something that should be handled within the league."
B.C. Solicitor General Rich Coleman and Vancouver police are investigating the incident, the second time in four years police have looked into an on-ice hit at an NHL game in the city.
Bertuzzi slugged Moore in the side of the head late in Monday night's 9-2 Colorado victory. 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.
Bertuzzi's punch appeared to be retaliation for an open-ice hit Moore delivered to Canucks captain Markus Naslund last month, knocking him out for three games.
Naslund said he didn't believe Bertuzzi planned to hurt Moore.
In February 2000, former Boston Bruin Marty McSorley was charged for hitting then-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 career.
"As a player you understand the emotions of the game," said the Lightning's Dave Andreychuk, who played with the Bruins during the McSorley incident. "You look more into the hit, of what happened during the game and the circumstances leading to that. If you just looked at that one incident, it's something we don't need in the game. But as a player, you look more into what led up to that.
"It happens that players lose it, emotions run too high, but it's no excuse, that's for sure. But those things happen in our game."
- Times staff writer Damian Cristodero contributed to this report.