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Canuck Bertuzzi Pleads Not Guilty

August 27, 2004|From Associated Press

Todd Bertuzzi of the Vancouver Canucks pleaded not guilty Thursday to an assault charge stemming from a hit on Steve Moore during a game that left the Colorado Avalanche forward with a broken neck.

Bertuzzi appeared in a Vancouver, Canada, court for 10 minutes and did not speak as he left with his wife in a limousine. His four words in court -- "Not guilty, your honor" -- were his first public utterances since March, when he tearfully apologized for his actions.

Bertuzzi was charged with assault causing bodily harm on June 24 after punching Moore from behind and then crashing onto the ice on top of him during the March 8 game. Moore suffered a broken neck and concussion. Bertuzzi was suspended indefinitely by the NHL and sat out 20 games.

The two sides return to court Wednesday to try to set a trial date. There will be no preliminary hearing, and the trial will be by judge alone. The maximum penalty Bertuzzi faces is 18 months.

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Hamilton Bulldog forward Alexander Perezhogin was charged with assault causing bodily harm. He injured Cleveland Baron defenseman Garrett Stafford on April 30 in an American Hockey League playoff game.

Perezhogin, who was drafted in 2001 by the Montreal Canadiens, was suspended for the rest of the playoffs and all next season. Stafford also was suspended for six games. He is not believed to have sustained any permanent injury.

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