The news has dropped. Todd Bertuzzi is out for the rest of the season and the playoffs. I thought he'd be gone for the season and the first round of the playoffs, so I was wrong. Though most people were saying I was expecting a penalty that was far too harsh.
This of course is all on top of what the police may charge Bertuzzi with. It also essentially ends Vancouver's Stanley Cup hopes for the year.
Bertuzzi banned for rest of season
CBC SPORTS ONLINE - Vancouver Canucks forward Todd Bertuzzi has been suspended by the NHL for at least the rest of the regular season and playoffs.
The league issued the penalty as a result of Bertuzzi's on-ice attack of Colorado Avalanche forward Steve Moore on Monday and a disciplinary hearing into the incident Wednesday in Toronto
Bertuzzi's status for the 2004-05 campaign will be determined by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman prior to the start of training camp next season. His eligibility to play next year will be based partly on Moore's physical condition at that time.
"No final determination on the total duration of Mr. Bertuzzi's suspension has yet been made," Colin Campbell, the NHL's executive vice-president and director of hockey operations, said in a statement.
Bertuzzi will also forfeit more than $500,000 US in salary, which will be paid by the Canucks into the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund. The Vancouver organization was also fined $250,000.
"When we discussed it (the incident) at hockey operations it wasn't whether (a suspension) would be two games or four games," Campbell said during a Thursday morning conference call. "We felt the player (Bertuzzi) had given up his right to perform for the rest of the season."
Campbell stressed the punishment fit the crime.
"It's severe. We did with Todd Bertuzzi like we would anyone in the situation. Because Todd Bertuzzi is an impact player, this will hurt the Vancouver Canucks' chances of being successful in the playoffs, but that didn't matter."
Bertuzzi punched Moore from behind and pushed him down to the ice during the third period of Colorado's 9-2 triumph on Monday. The 25-year-old rookie tumbled face-first and lay motionless for several minutes in a pool of blood before being carried off on a stretcher.
"Mr. Bertuzzi pursued Mr. Moore on the ice, attempting to engage him in a confrontation," Campbell said in the statement.
"When Mr. Moore declined to engage Mr. Bertuzzi, Mr. Bertuzzi responded by delivering a gloved punch from behind to the side of Mr. Moore's head, rendering him unconscious. Upon falling to the ice, Mr. Moore suffered additional serious injuries. We want to make clear that this type of conduct will not be tolerated in the NHL."
Moore remains in a Vancouver hospital with fractured vertebra in his neck, a concussion and facial cuts. He will miss the rest of the season, but is expected to make a full recovery.
With Colorado leading 5-0 after the first period, NHL director of officiating Andy van Hellemond and Campbell paid a visit to the game officials at the intermission to discuss a plan if things got out of hand on the ice.
"We felt we took the steps to address the situation. They're players ... and they're hot-tempered. But we felt more could have been done by the Vancouver organization," said Campbell. "You only have so much control of the players, but we felt there could have been more done to prevent the situation."