Bertuzzi pleads not guilty to assault charge
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Bertuzzi, who was not required to appear in court, said only "not guilty, your honor" when asked his plea during the 10-minute hearing. He did not speak with reporters afterward. A trial date could be set on September 1. Bertuzzi, who could face jail time if convicted, was officially charged with assault causing bodily harm in late June. The prosecution said it would likely call several players and league officials as witnesses. 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.