Moore hit from behind, knocked out


VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) -- The Colorado Avalanche
bounced back from an ugly loss with a lopsided win that turned ugly
in the end.

After the Avs were blown out by Calgary 24 hours earlier, Milan Hejduk had three goals as Colorado scored five times in the first period en route to a 9-2 victory Monday night over the Vancouver Canucks.

Colorado moved three points ahead of Vancouver in the Northwest
Division, but that was little consolation after Avalanche forward
Steve Moore was carted off on a stretcher after Todd Bertuzzi
jumped him in the third period.

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.

"It really puts a damper on the whole game," said Colorado
captain Joe Sakic, who had a goal and three assists. "There's
rivalries, but rivalries don't include that stuff. We have two
excellent hockey teams and tonight was our night, but it ended up
like that and obviously nobody feels good about that."

Moore delivered the hit last month that knocked Canucks captain
Markus Naslund out for three games with a concussion. Canucks tough
guy Brad May talked about a bounty after that Feb. 16 game, but he
backed off those comments. The teams played to a 5-5 tie without
incident last Wednesday.

Monday's game started with Moore dropping the gloves with Matt Cooke in the first, and Bertuzzi was chasing Moore around the ice midway through the third.

Bertuzzi, Naslund's linemate and close friend, punched Moore in
the head from behind while skating at center ice. The 245-pound
Canucks winger then jumped on Moore's back and drove him face first
into the ice, knocking him unconscious.

"Obviously, I think we all feel bad about someone getting
hurt," Naslund said. "Todd feels awful about it and is very
sorry. I know it might not mean much right now. As weird as it
seems, I don't think that was Todd's intentions. He obviously gave
him a sucker punch but he feels really awful about it right now."

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.

"It was disgusting," Avalanche defenseman Derek Morris said.
"I haven't seen anything like that in my seven years of playing
hockey. This was premeditated; this was the worst thing I've

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 off.

"The most important thing for me right now is the last I heard
is he was conscious when he left the building," Granato said of
Moore, who was taken to a hospital. "He regained consciousness
when he left the building."

May, who was involved in three fights, including two with Peter Worrell, scored both goals for the Canucks.

"This game took a life of its own, and it shouldn't have," May
said. "On the other hand, there's a lot of emotion and a lot of
battles. For two-and-a-half to three weeks, there's been a lot of

"To a man in here, the first thing is we support the Colorado
player 100 percent and our own teammates."

The win was just Colorado's third in 12 games, and Granato was
pleased with the way his team responded after being beaten so
soundly the night before.

Hejduk opened the scoring just 18 seconds after Moore fought
Cooke, and Steve Konowalchuk added a goal at 14:40 to start an
outburst that produced three goals in 51 seconds.

Sakic scored on his own rebound at 15:09, and Darby Hendrickson
made it 4-0 on a partial breakaway just 22 seconds later. That
ended goalie Dan Cloutier's night and set an Avalanche record for
the fastest three goals.

Johan Hedberg, who posted shutouts in each of his previous two
starts, took over for Cloutier, but he didn't fare any better.

Moore tapped in a rebound at 16:19 to give the Avalanche four
goals in 1:39, breaking the Canucks' record for fastest four goals

Morris scored during a five-on-three power play in the second
period for the Avalanche, and Paul Kariya added a short-handed tally in the third. Hejduk added two goals in the third period as Colorado improved to an NHL-best 18-4-7-4 on the road.

"We came to play hockey, we played a very good period and had
things under control and that was their only way to try to get
something out of tonight," Granato said.

Game notes
The season series finished 2-2-2. ... Canucks C Trevor Linden ended a 12-game pointless drought with two assists to pass Stan Smyl as Vancouver's career scoring leader with 675 points. ... Avalanche C Andrei Nikolishin returned after missing 20 games with an abdominal injury. ... Vancouver D Marek Malik was a surprise scratch with a sore back. ... Canucks D Ed Jovanovski skated with teammates Monday morning for the first time since separating his right shoulder in a Jan. 25 game. He is expected to take part in contact drills Tuesday, then be re-evaluated.