CBC News: Canucks star will plead to assault

Updated: December 21, 2004, 3:51 PM ET

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- It appears Todd Bertuzzi has struck a deal.

Todd Bertuzzi

CBC News is reporting Tuesday that the Vancouver Canucks forward will accept a plea bargain Wednesday morning from the British Columbia Crown after being charged with assault causing bodily harm for attacking Steve Moore of the Colorado Avalanche during a March 8 game.

Bertuzzi pleaded not guilty to the assault charge Aug. 26 during a brief hearing at the British Columbia Provincial Court.

According to CBC News, Bertuzzi agreed to plead guilty for a conditional discharge. He will not have a criminal record but will be required to do community service.

Moore was attacked from behind by Bertuzzi and suffered a neck fracture, facial lacerations and a concussion. The incident sent shockwaves through the sports world, and the NHL responded by suspending Bertuzzi for the remainder of the regular season and the entire Stanley Cup playoffs.

In addition, Bertuzzi's future eligibility has yet to be determined by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. The league is in a lockout.

Bertuzzi could also still face a possible civil suit from Moore, who may never play hockey again and has hired an attorney.

Colorado was leading the game, 8-2, in the third period of the game at General Motors Place when 6-foot-3 Bertuzzi grabbed Moore and sucker-punched him on the side of the head. He then landed on top of Moore, driving his head into the ice.

Moore was unconscious for several minutes in a pool of blood before he was carried from the ice on a stretcher.

Bertuzzi is not the first hockey player to face legal charges over an on-ice incident.

Marty McSorley of the Boston Bruins ended up with a 23-game suspension after he struck then-Canucks left wing Donald Brashear on the side of the head with his stick in February 2000. McSorley received a one-year suspension from the NHL and later was found guilty in a provincial court of assault with a weapon.

Bertuzzi, 29, had 17 goals and 43 assists in 69 games last season.