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Bertuzzi not in court; case adjourned for two weeks

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Vancouver, BC (Sports Network) - Vancouver Canucks forward Todd Bertuzzi was not in court Friday for a hearing on charges of assault stemming from his vicious hit against Colorado's Steven Moore during a March 8 game.

The case, meanwhile, was adjourned until July 22, when prosecutors hope to get a date for arraignment. Bertuzzi's attorney, Len Doust, represented the player Friday and declined to tell reporters what kind of plea his client might enter. "That's privileged information," Doust said after the minute-long hearing. "That's Mr. Bertuzzi's information, not mine." Outside the court, fans in Vancouver jerseys showed their support of Bertuzzi, who could face jail time if convicted of the charge. After an investigation of more than three months, the charges of assault causing bodily harm were announced in late June by the criminal justice branch of the ministry of the attorney general. Bertuzzi punched Moore in the head from behind and then jumped on his back and drove him face-first into the ice, knocking him unconscious. Moore, who scored a goal earlier in the game, laid motionless in a puddle of blood before being carted off on a stretcher. Moore was hospitalized with a broken neck, a concussion and deep cuts on his face. It is unknown if Moore will be able to play again. Bertuzzi's actions appeared to be in retaliation for a hit Moore delivered to Canucks captain and Bertuzzi's friend Markus Naslund in February. The open-ice hit by Moore sidelined Naslund with a concussion for three games. After that contest, Vancouver players vowed to get even with Moore. The NHL came down hard on Bertuzzi, who was suspended for the final 13 games of the regular season and the 2004 playoffs. The penalty cost him more than $500,000 of his $6.8 million salary. The Canucks were also fined $250,000, while Bertuzzi's eligibility for the 2004-05 NHL season will be determined by commissioner Gary Bettman prior to the start of training camp. Bertuzzi made a tearful apology two nights after the game. He recorded 17 goals and 43 assists in 69 games during the season.

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