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Bertuzzi charged for attack on Moore
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Old 24 Jun 2004, 08:52 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Bertuzzi charged for attack on Moore

6/24/2004

VANCOUVER (CP) - Once again, the NHL is going on trial.

Vancouver Canucks star Todd Bertuzzi was charged Thursday with assault causing bodily harm for a March 8 on-ice attack that left Colorado Avalanche forward Steve Moore with a broken neck and his NHL career in doubt.

Bertuzzi, 29, has been ordered to appear in provincial court July 9.

If found guilty, Bertuzzi could face a penalty ranging from jail time to an absolute discharge with no criminal record.

``It's unfortunate,'' Pat Morris, Bertuzzi's agent, said about the decision to charge Bertuzzi. ``You hoped the process would have led to an opposite decision. I fully support my client and my friend.''

Morris refused to detail Bertuzzi's reaction to the news.

``His life is private. There is no comment.''

Bertuzzi's sucker-punch during the third period of a Colorado blowout win has been shown repeatedly on television across North America and elsewhere. The incident was a major embarrassment for the league and renewed debate about violence and the culture of hockey.

The incident sent the 25-year-old Moore to hospital with three fractured vertebrae, facial cuts, significant post-concussion symptoms and ``significant amnesia.'' Nerves in the neck area were also stretched by the blow.

Moore last met with the media on March 29, when it was not known when, or if, the native of Windsor, Ont., would play hockey again.

Moore's agent Larry Kelly said he spoke with his client last week.

``We're hoping he will make a full recovery but only time will tell,'' said Kelly.

``You can't tell with concussions until he goes out and tries to compete again.''

Thursday's announcement comes on the eve of the NHL's entry draft this weekend in Raleigh, N.C., a showcase event for the league. Now the spotlight of future stars will be shared with talk of lawyers and on-ice violence.

Ken Dryden, the Montreal Canadiens hall-of-fame goaltender who is now a Toronto-area Liberal candidate, doubted the Bertuzzi case will leave the league with a lasting bruise.

``I'm not sure it has any particular lasting impact,'' Dryden said while in Vancouver to help the federal election campaign of local candidates.

``At the moment it does, but lasting I don't think it does.''

Prime Minister Paul Martin weighed in on the issue, saying changes need to be made at the minor hockey level that discourage kids from violent on-ice behaviour, and that the NHL must set a more positive example.

``I'm a hockey fan - a big hockey fan. I think the kind of fighting we've seen and some of those vicious hits have got to be dealt with,'' he told BCTV. ``... I think the NHL has got to do a much better job of policing itself.''

Geoffrey Gaul, director of legal services for the B.C. Criminal Justice Branch of the Ministry of the Attorney General, defended the length of time it took to decide whether charges should be laid.

``It didn't take too long to make the decision,'' said Gaul. ``It took as long as the Crown required to do a complete assessment of the available evidence. The Crown will not make a decision on charges unless we're satisfied that we have sufficient evidence to allow us to make a charging decision.''

Bertuzzi could face a maximum penalty of 10 years in jail if the trial is held in B.C. Supreme Court. Legal experts say that penalty would be reserved only for the worst cases with repeat offenders and is highly unlikely in this incident.

If the case is heard in B.C. provincial court, the maximum penalty is 18 months. The venue is up to the Crown, which has yet to decide, according to Gaul.

Following the incident, the NHL suspended Bertuzzi for the final 13 games of the regular season and Vancouver's seven playoff games. He must have a hearing with the league before he can be reinstated.

The ban cost Bertuzzi $501,926.39 US of his $6.8-million salary. The Canucks were also fined $250,000.

Bertuzzi, who was also left off Team Canada's roster for this fall's World Cup, has hired Len Doust, one of B.C.'s most high-profile lawyers, to represent him.

Hockey has gone to the dock before in Vancouver.

Marty McSorley, then with the Boston Bruins, was charged with assault after hitting then-Canuck Donald Brashear with a stick to the head in February 2000.

McSorley, now coach of the Springfield Falcons in the American Hockey league, was convicted of assault with a weapon and given an 18-month conditional discharge. He never played in the NHL again.

The protagonists in the two cases are quite different, however. McSorley was a renowned tough guy. And he went after Brashear, another of the league's small band of enforcers.

Bertuzzi is a one of the league's biggest stars, a marquee player who can score goals and bang bodies. Moore is a rookie seeing limited playing time, a virtual unknown to most hockey fans at the time.

There was history between the two teams. Moore had injured Canucks captain Markus Naslund in a previous game with a mid-ice hit that was not penalized. Naslund suffered a concussion and was sidelined for three games.

On Thursday, the Vancouver Canucks issued a statement supporting their star winger.

``The matter is now before the courts and we will continue to support Todd and his family through this process,'' the team said. ``Although we appreciate the interest in this development, the Vancouver Canuck organization will have no further comment at this time.''

The NHL promised its full co-operation with authorities. But Bill Daly, the league's executive vice-president and chief legal officer, repeated the league view that it had ``rendered an appropriate decision, one that was stern and swift.''

``We did what we believe was right, for the players involved and the sport as a whole,'' he added in a statement. ``We, therefore, would have preferred that the Crown not take this action.''

The Avalanche also promised to co-operate with authorities.

``At this time, it is our intention to co-operate with the authorities should members of our organization be called upon to do so.

``A member of our organization was directly involved, and our main concern remains for him to fully recover from this unfortunate incident,'' Pierre Lacroix, Colorado president and GM, said in a statement.

Bertuzzi's rugged play combined with his goal-scoring ability had made him one of the Canucks' most popular players. Even after his suspension, signs of ``Free Bertuzzi'' could be seen at Canucks home games. Callers to local sports radio stations suggested the sentence the league handed out was too tough.

Gaul said Bertuzzi's status in the community didn't influence the Crown's decision.

``The Crown has not treated this case any differently when it comes to our charges assessment process,'' he said.

Bertuzzi's indefinite suspension won't be lifted until NHL commissioner Gary Bettman holds a hearing with the Canucks star. During a May 25 interview, Bettman gave no indication when that meeting might occur.

Bertuzzi's only public comment was a tearful apology two nights after the incident occurred.

``Steve, I just want to apologize for what happened out there,'' said the Sudbury, Ont., native. ``I had no intention of hurting you. I feel awful for what transpired.

``I don't play the game that way,'' he added. ``I'm not a mean-spirited person. I'm sorry for what happened.''

Bertuzzi, 6-3 and 235 pounds, had 17 goals, 43 assists and 122 penalty minutes in 69 games this season.

Moore, a six-foot-two 205-pounder with a degree in environmental sciences and public policy from Harvard, had five goals, seven assists and 27 penalty minutes in 57 games.
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Old 25 Jun 2004, 01:30 AM   #2 (permalink)
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The Punishment fit the crime....
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Old 25 Jun 2004, 09:56 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Rebel should cut his own throat and bleed to death.Rebel should cut his own throat and bleed to death.Rebel should cut his own throat and bleed to death.Rebel should cut his own throat and bleed to death.Rebel should cut his own throat and bleed to death.Rebel should cut his own throat and bleed to death.Rebel should cut his own throat and bleed to death.Rebel should cut his own throat and bleed to death.Rebel should cut his own throat and bleed to death.Rebel should cut his own throat and bleed to death.Rebel should cut his own throat and bleed to death.
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I think what happens on the ice has to stay within the NHL. I don't think its right that he got charged. The NHL dealt with him, and I think that's enough. And no, i'm not sticking up for him if that's what your wondering.
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Old 28 Jun 2004, 02:13 AM   #4 (permalink)
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complete B.S. hes payed for it, now just get over it.
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Old 28 Jun 2004, 04:36 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I'm not a Hockey fan. But if the damage was intentional (wich is) he should be in jail. A crime is a crime and no matter if he made it on the ice or outside.
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Old 29 Jun 2004, 12:31 AM   #6 (permalink)
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dont comment on it if you dont watch hockey then.
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