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The Inside Track | NEWSWIRE

NHL Ends Banishment for the Canucks' Bertuzzi

August 09, 2005|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Vancouver Canuck forward Todd Bertuzzi, whose blindside punch left Colorado's Steve Moore with a broken neck, was reinstated by the NHL on Monday.

Bertuzzi was suspended for the final 13 regular-season games of the 2003-04 season and the Stanley Cup playoffs. His banishment continued throughout last season's NHL lockout, which kept Bertuzzi from playing in the World Cup of Hockey last September and the last two world championships.

He also was barred from playing in any European league last season.

Bertuzzi and Moore met separately with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman for Bertuzzi's reinstatement hearing on April 26. The Vancouver right wing needed the commissioner's approval before being allowed back into the league.

"I find that the appropriate discipline to be imposed for Mr. Bertuzzi's conduct on March 8, 2004, is the suspension that has been served to date," Bettman said in a statement. "While I believe that Mr. Bertuzzi must be held accountable for his actions, I do not feel it is necessary or appropriate to delay the issuance of this opinion."

The suspension cost Bertuzzi $501,926.39 in salary. He is scheduled to earn more than $5.2 million from the Canucks in the upcoming season.

As per terms of his criminal probation stemming from separate legal action, Bertuzzi will not be permitted to play in any game in which Moore is an opponent. Moore is an unrestricted free agent after not being re-signed by the Avalanche.

Moore's Denver attorney, Lee Foreman, didn't immediately return a call to Associated Press.

Bettman said in his summary statement, which consisted of 10 pages and nearly 5,000 words, that Bertuzzi's behavior would be watched closely this season.

"While I believe that reinstatement of Mr. Bertuzzi at this point in time is appropriate and consistent with a 'fresh start' for the 2005-06 season, I want to make it clear that any future acts by Mr. Bertuzzi involving a review for possible supplemental discipline will require an in-person hearing," Bettman said.

Moore might never play again because of Bertuzzi's vicious blow in Vancouver.

Bertuzzi was suspended indefinitely following the hit. Moore was left with a broken neck, a concussion and no guarantee that he'd still be a professional hockey player.

The attack was seen as retaliation for a hit Moore put on Vancouver star Markus Naslund that left the Canucks' captain with a concussion and sidelined him for three games. Bertuzzi first asked for his reinstatement hearing last December, around the time he pleaded guilty in a Vancouver court to criminal assault and was given a conditional discharge. After facing up to 18 months in prison, he was given a year's probation and sentenced to 80 hours of community service.

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Rick Nash, who tied for the league lead in goals with 41 in 2003-04, re-signed with the Columbus Blue Jackets, agreeing to a five-year contract.

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Chris Osgood agreed to terms on a one-year, $900,000 contract with the Detroit Red Wings, returning the goaltender to the team he helped win the 1998 Stanley Cup.

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The Mighty Ducks reacquired Jason Marshall, a tough-guy defenseman who spent nearly six full seasons with the club from 1994 to 2001. The one-year deal is worth $450,000.

Marshall, 34, played in 347 games during his first stint with the Ducks, ranking second among defensemen in the club's history behind Ruslan Salei. He has also been with St. Louis, Washington, Minnesota and San Jose, totaling 16 goals, 63 assists and 970 penalty minutes.

Marshall signed with the New York Rangers last August but did not play a game for the team because of the lockout.

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The Kings signed center Eric Belanger to a one-year, $758,100 contract. Belanger had 13 goals and 33 points in 81 games for the Kings in 2003-04.

The Kings also hired Jim Hughes to coach Manchester, the team's minor league affiliate in the American Hockey League.

Tennis

Andre Agassi defeated Alberto Martin, 6-4, 6-2, and Dominik Hrbaty rallied to beat Tim Henman, 3-6, 7-5, 6-1, in the opening round of the Rogers Cup in Montreal.

"It's frustrating," Henman said. "But I'm not putting any extra pressure on myself."

In other matches, Richard Gasquet beat Mikhail Youzhny, 6-3, 7-6 (3); Tommy Robredo got by Kevin Kim, 7-5, 3-6, 6-1; Mario Ancic beat Cyril Saulnier, 6-3, 7-6 (8); Karol Beck beat Noam Okun, 6-3, 6-2; Andrei Pavel defeated Christophe Rochus, 6-1, 7-5; and Jonas Bjorkman beat Vincent Spadea, 6-3, 6-2. Bjorkman will play Agassi next.

Emilie Loit upset eighth-seeded Laura Pous Tio, 6-0, 6-2, in the first round of the Nordic Light Open in Stockholm.

Mara Santangelo, who replaced Venus Williams after she withdrew Saturday because of flu, defeated Sandra Kleinova, 6-4, 6-1.

Jurisprudence

Brian Brownlee and Woodly Telfort, two former South Carolina football players facing charges for stealing computers from Williams-Brice Stadium in November, claim in court documents that Coach Steve Spurrier told the team no one would face criminal charges if the stolen items were returned.

Brownlee and Telfort both were charged with felony grand larceny in January. Their cases are scheduled to go to trial Aug. 29.

Telfort said he returned a laptop computer because of Spurrier's assurance, according to documents. Brownlee claimed he returned the items he took before the team meeting.

Spurrier issued a statement Monday night saying the university's attorney had asked him not to comment because of the pending criminal charges.

One of four former Brigham Young University football players accused in the alleged gang rape of an underage girl has pleaded guilty to reduced charges and agreed to testify against two other teammates. Karland Bennett pleaded guilty to dealing harmful material to a minor and obstructing justice. Two counts of aggravated sexual assault were dropped.

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T.J. Simers has the day off.

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