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Guilty Plea In Hockey Assault

Vancouver Canucks player Todd Bertuzzi pleaded guilty to assault Wednesday, more than nine months after slugging Colorado forward Steve Moore from behind and driving his face into the ice during a game.

A lawyer acting on behalf of Moore asked the judge to delay sentencing until January to give his client a chance to travel to Vancouver to make a statement. Moore was hospitalized with three fractured vertebrae, facial cuts, post-concussion symptoms and amnesia.

Judge Herb Weitzel said he would decide later Wednesday when he would deliver his sentence.

Bertuzzi was suspended indefinitely by the NHL, missing 13 regular-season games and seven postseason games while losing nearly $502,000 in salary. On Friday, he was barred from playing in Europe by the International Ice Hockey Federation because of his violent conduct.

Tim Danson, Moore's Toronto-based attorney, said Tuesday it was his understanding Bertuzzi would not receive a criminal record in exchange for pleading guilty.

But Danson said he became aware of the deal on Monday, and neither he, nor Moore, had a chance to travel to Vancouver to address the court. Instead, Danson hired a Vancouver lawyer to ask for the sentencing delay.

Before the plea bargain, Bertuzzi faced a maximum of 18 months in prison. Bertuzzi, who had been scheduled to stand trial Jan. 17, was accompanied in court by his wife and Canucks captain Marcus Naslund.