Belak to miss rest of regular season
The Maple Leafs defenseman will be out for Toronto's remaining six regular-season games and the club's first two postseason games.
Belak slashed Vaananen on Saturday night and was given a match penalty for attempt to injure. He met with Colin Campbell at the league's office in Toronto on Monday before the NHL disciplinarian handed down his decision.
"It was a little severe I think," Belak said. "I wasn't expecting to walk away with less than three [games], but I thought no more than five. Getting six plus two, it's kind of harsh."
The suspension will cost Belak $67,682.94 in forfeited salary.
"Mr. Belak used his stick in a careless, dangerous and unacceptable manner," Campbell said in a statement. "Players must be responsible for their sticks at all times, and blows with the stick to the head area will not be tolerated."
Six-foot-5, 221-pound Belak has one goal, one assist and 109 penalty minutes in 34 games this season, his fourth with the Leafs. A career enforcer, he has seven goals, 15 assists and 811 penalty minutes in 275 career NHL games.
Moore also suffered a concussion and deep lacerations when Bertuzzi hit him from behind and drove him into the ice during a March 8 game in Vancouver. Bertuzzi was suspended for the rest of the regular season and the playoffs, at least.
"I think the timing of it never gave me a fair chance," Belak said. "Being in Toronto playing in a Saturday night game in front of all the media, I didn't have a chance. They pretty much made up their mind about what was going to happen to me that night.
"I was off-balance. We need to be responsible for our sticks, I understand that part, but in no way was I trying to hurt him. Comparing me to Bertuzzi is kind of unfair."
Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press
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