VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) Colorado forward Steve Moore will miss the rest of the season with a broken neck, the result of a sucker punch from Vancouver's Todd Bertuzzi that is being investigated by police.
Moore also sustained a concussion and deep cuts on his face, and he will remain hospitalized in Vancouver indefinitely.
''It doesn't matter what the score was, what the time was, what the place was, what the history was, there's no room in our game for that,'' Colorado coach Tony Granato said.
Bertuzzi, an All-Star forward, slugged Moore in the side of the head late in Monday night's 9-2 Colorado victory. He was suspended indefinitely pending a hearing at the NHL office in Toronto on Wednesday.
Bertuzzi 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.
''All I'm concerned with is he regain his health,'' said Pierre Lacroix, Avalanche president and general manager. ''All legal matters and all medical matters, I don't want to think about.''
B.C. Solicitor General Rich Coleman and Vancouver police are investigating, the second time in four years police have looked into an on-ice hit at an NHL game in the city.
Former Boston Bruin Marty McSorley was charged for hitting then-Vancouver Canuck Donald Brashear with his stick in February 2000.
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.
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 had vowed to get even with Moore for that hit, which was not penalized.
The Canucks did not go after Moore in last week's rematch in Denver, a 5-5 tie attended by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. Naslund said he didn't believe Bertuzzi planned to hurt Moore.
''He tried to do something he thought was right for his team, to challenge someone,'' Naslund said. ''He wanted to make a point that you don t go out and hit our players.''
Bertuzzi's punch and its aftermath sent shock waves through the league, with players condemning his actions and calling for tough penalties.
''As NHL players we get fired up and sometimes do stupid things on the ice, but nobody wants to see injuries to the extent of Moore's,'' Detroit Red Wings veteran Brendan Shanahan said.
Even the NHL's so-called goons were appalled.
''It doesn't matter what your name is, this is not right,'' said the Calgary Flames' Krzysztof Oliwa, a well-traveled fighter. ''This is not hockey, this is being cheap.''
Wayne Gretzky said it was an example of something that can happen in a sport that often turns violent.
''It's a very emotional game and you can quickly lose your temper and lose your focus,'' the Hall of Famer said in Lakeland, Fla., where he was watching the Toronto Blue Jays-Detroit Tigers game.
''What happened was wrong, and I am sure that nobody feels worse about it than Todd.''
When Moore's condition improves, he will 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,'' Lacroix said.
Moore is a checking forward on a team stacked with stars. The rookie center has four goals and seven assists this season.
Vancouver general manager Brian Burke said Bertuzzi was ''too distraught'' to attend Tuesday's news conference, but the Canucks right wing tried to contact Moore at the hospital.
''That, to me, shows the sincerity more than any statement that we could issue,'' said Burke, who will fly to Toronto to be with Bertuzzi at his hearing Wednesday.
''He's remorseful, and relieved that Mr. Moore's injuries, at this point, appear that a full recovery should be possible.''
Bertuzzi, a 6-foot-3, 235-pounder, 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, 23rd in the league.
''If most people knew how upset Todd was by the result of what happened they would have a different view on things,'' said teammate Trevor Linden, also president of the NHL Players' Association.
Peninsula Clarion ©2013. All Rights Reserved.