Vancouver Canucks forward Todd Bertuzzi, whose blindside punch left Colorado's Steve Moore with three fractured vertebrae in his neck, was reinstated by the NHL yesterday.
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 past 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 in the upcoming season.
As per terms of his criminal probation, Bertuzzi will not be permitted to play in any game in which Moore, an unrestricted free agent, is an opponent.
-- From News Services