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The Inside Track | NEWSWIRE

Bertuzzi Wants Second Chance After Suspension

August 16, 2005|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Todd Bertuzzi broke his silence Monday, nearly a year and a half after his blindside punch to the head of Steve Moore left the Colorado forward with injuries that could be career-ending.

The Vancouver Canuck forward was reinstated last week by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and spoke Monday in Vancouver at an orientation camp for the Canadian Olympic team.

"I'm a firm believer in second chances, and if we're going to go through life not giving anyone second chances, what kind of life are we going to have?" Bertuzzi said. "People make mistakes in life. Unfortunately I was under the microscope and on TV when my mistake happened, and if I'm going to sit here and keep getting ridiculed about it, how are we ever going to give someone a second chance to become better or to change situations?"

Bertuzzi missed the final 13 regular-season games in the 2003-04 season and the Canucks' first-round playoff loss.

He wasn't allowed to play anywhere during the NHL lockout because of his punch that caused Moore to suffer a concussion and broken bones in his neck.

He hadn't made any public statements since two days after the March 2004 incident, when he issued a tearful apology.

Bertuzzi wished Moore a speedy recovery and disputed reports that he hadn't tried to apologize to Moore.

Bertuzzi's agent, Pat Morris, said Bertuzzi made more than 10 tries to reach Moore through the Avalanche, Moore's agent, and his lawyer.

"I was hoping for the opportunity to confront him and speak to him and his family and it has never come about," Bertuzzi said. "You have to respect people's decisions on things, and some people forgive a lot easier than others and you've just got to deal with it and move forward."

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John LeClair, a five-time All-Star forward who spent the last 10 seasons with Philadelphia, signed a two-year contract with Pittsburgh, the Penguins' fifth major player addition in slightly more than two weeks.

The team that finished last overall in the 2003-04 standings has the look of a playoff team after acquiring offense-minded defenseman Sergei Gonchar, high-scoring Ziggy Palffy and goaltender Jocelyn Thibault, and drafting top prospect Sidney Crosby. The team also signed another former Flyer star, Mark Recchi, before the labor dispute shut down the 2004-05 season.

LeClair, 36, has 382 goals and 379 assists in 873 games.

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The Kings signed free-agent defenseman Brad Fast to a one-year contract. Fast, 25, played 32 games for Lowell of the American Hockey League and 14 games with Florida in the ECHL last year.

The Kings also signed left wing Jeff Tambellini, a first-round pick in the 2003 draft. Tambellini led Michigan with 24 goals and 57 points last season.

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The Czech and Russian hockey federations refused to sign the proposed player transfer agreement between the NHL and the sport's world governing body as the deadline passed, leaving unsettled the NHL's participation in next year's Turin Olympics.

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Tennis

Roger Federer, in a 7-6 (3), 7-5 win over James Blake, worked off the rust from a five-week layoff caused by a sore foot, and Andy Roddick compensated for an undependable serve in a 6-3, 6-4 win during the first round of the Cincinnati Masters at Mason, Ohio. Andre Agassi, the 35-year-old defending champion, decided to withdraw because a chronic back problem flared up.

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Badminton

Californians Eva Lee and Mesinee Mangkalakiri became the first American team to reach the second round of women's doubles in four years at the International Badminton Federation's world championships in Anaheim, doing so by default.

Lee, from Orange, and Mangkalakiri, from Garden Grove, advanced when Singapore's Sari Shinta Mulya and Xing Aiying withdrew because of injury. Lee, 19, and Mangkalakiri, 22, will face Liza Parker and Suzanne Rayappan of England today.

Lee was beaten by Estonia's Kati Tolmoff, 10-13, 13-11, 11-1, in the first round of women's singles.

In men's singles, Eric Go of Orange lost to Canada's Andrew Dabeka, 9-15, 15-3, 15-1.

The only seeded American team, Tony Gunawan of Fullerton and Howard Bach of Orange, defeated Wales' Matthew Hughes and Martyn Lewis, 15-0, 15-3, in a late men's doubles match.

Other Americans competing were Raju Rai of Anaheim, who lost to Poompat Sapkulchananart of Thailand, 15-7, 9-15, 15-12, in men's singles; Go and Ronald Sou of West Covina, who lost to Yang Sang and Bo Zheng of China, 15-8, 15-7, in men's doubles; and Cindy Shi of Orange and Jamie Subandhi of Westminster, who lost to Pek Siah Lim and Hooi Yee Chor of Malaysia, 15-4, 15-4, in women's doubles.

England's top-seeded Nathan Roberston and Gail Emms withdrew from the mixed doubles competition after Robertson sprained his right ankle during practice Sunday.

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Motor Racing

Owner Jack Roush says he is still thinking about letting Nextel Cup champion Kurt Busch out of the final year of his contract in 2006.

"We will consider releasing him, but it's not presumed that we will," Roush said in Darlington, S.C.

Last week, Busch signed a deal to drive for Roger Penske in 2007 and asked Roush that he be released from his current contract after this season.

John Beckett was killed when his car rolled at more than 200 mph during time trials at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Wendover, Utah.

The 58-year-old North Carolina driver crashed as he was reaching top speed at the five-mile mark of the seven-mile track Sunday during Bonneville National Speedweek, race officials said.

Beckett was alive when sheriff's officers arrived but died a short time later, said sheriff's Lt. Lynn Bush.

His 1930s Crosley competition coupe will be examined to determine the cause of the crash, race official Roy Creel told the Salt Lake Tribune.

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T.J. Simers is on vacation.

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