Bertuzzi suspended pending hearing
VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Colorado forward Steve Moore was taken off the ice on a stretcher after being jumped from behind by Vancouver forward Todd Bertuzzi midway through the third period of a game the Avalanche led 8-2 and won 9-2.
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But it should be pointed out that, were it not for the NHL's instigator rule, this situation would likely have resolved itself back on Feb. 16 after Moore knocked Canucks captain Markus Naslund out for three games with a concussion. Any player deemed the instigator in a fight earns an extra two-minute minor penalty and an additional 10-minute misconduct. But without the threat of additional penalties the Canucks would have been able to police the situation immediately, send a message and be done with it.
As it is, though, the instigator rule is allowing certain players to skate around using their sticks as weapons without fear of retribution from the other side. I have yet to meet a player or coach who likes the rule. Abolishing it would be a good thing for the game because teams would then have the ability to regulate themselves before the league has to step in.
Bertuzzi sought revenge when he punched Moore in the head from behind while skating at center ice. Bertuzzi jumped on Moore's back and drove him face first into the ice, knocking him unconscious.
Less than two hours after the final horn, the NHL suspended Bertuzzi, who was given a match penalty for intent to injure, indefinitely -- without pay. There will be a hearing Wednesday morning at the league's office in Toronto.
Trainers from both teams rushed to Moore's side while players from both teams squared off for more fights. Moore was motionless on the ice with a puddle of blood pouring onto the ice around him.
Avalanche officials said Moore was conscious as he was taken from the arena to a hospital.
After a 10-minute delay, during which Colorado coach Tony Granato tried to get at the Canucks bench and screamed at Vancouver coach Marc Crawford, Moore was strapped onto a stretcher and wheeled out of the arena.
Moore, a 25-year-old checking center, fought Matt Cooke early in the first period and scored a goal. He has five goals and seven assists in 56 games with Colorado this season.
Bertuzzi was assessed a five-minute match penalty.
Moore wasn't penalized for the Feb. 16 hit on Naslund. At the time, Crawford said it was "a cheap shot by a young kid on a captain, the leading scorer in the league."
Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press
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