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NHL Mulls Action In Player Assault

Todd Bertuzzi will find out the length of his suspension Thursday morning for punching Colorado's Steve Moore.

Bertuzzi, an All-Star forward for the Vancouver Canucks, had an hour-long hearing at the NHL office in Toronto on Wednesday. He already has been suspended indefinitely, while Moore is out for the season with a broken neck.

Moore also sustained a concussion and deep cuts on his face, and he remains hospitalized in Vancouver.

Colin Campbell, the league's vice president and disciplinarian, will issue his ruling early Thursday morning.

"The decision has not been reached. Mr. Campbell is going to take some time before he reaches his decision," said Gary Meagher, an NHL spokesman.

Meagher said representatives of the league, Bertuzzi and the players' association watched videotape of the punch and discussed what happened.

Bertuzzi and Vancouver general manager Brian Burke returned to Vancouver after the meeting.

B.C. Solicitor General Rich Coleman and Vancouver police are investigating the punch, the second time in four years police have looked into an on-ice hit at an NHL game in the city.

Bertuzzi slugged Moore in the side of the head late in Monday night's 9-2 Colorado victory. He hit Moore from behind and drove his head into the ice. Moore landed face-first — with the 245-pound Bertuzzi on top of him — and lay in a pool of blood for several minutes before he was removed on a stretcher.

Bertuzzi's punch appeared to be retaliation for an open-ice hit Moore delivered to Canucks captain Markus Naslund last month, knocking him out for three games. Vancouver players vowed to get even with Moore for that hit, which wasn't penalized.

Naslund said he didn't believe Bertuzzi planned to hurt Moore.

In February 2000, former Boston Bruin Marty McSorley was charged for hitting then-Vancouver Canuck Donald Brashear with his stick. McSorley was convicted of assault with a weapon, but he received an 18-month conditional discharge, meaning no jail time and no criminal record after probation.

The league suspended him for a year, ending his 17-year NHL career.

When Moore's condition improves, he'll be transferred to Craig Hospital in Denver and evaluated by neurosurgeons, the Avalanche said.

"Steve knows he has the support of the entire Avalanche family and hockey fans throughout the world," said Pierre Lacroix, Avalanche president and general manager.

Bertuzzi was an All-Star last season when he was fifth in the league in scoring. This year, he was an All-Star again and has 60 points