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Saturday, December 18, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 A.M.

Notebook: IIHF rules Bertuzzi can't play in Europe


Vancouver Canucks forward Todd Bertuzzi, who remains suspended by the NHL for an on-ice attack last season, has been barred from joining other locked-out players in Europe.

The International Ice Hockey Federation, the sport's governing body outside North America, made the ruling yesterday after learning the two-time All-Star was seeking to play in Europe while the NHL is shut down by a labor dispute.

Bertuzzi, 29, was suspended indefinitely by the NHL and charged with assault for punching Colorado Avalanche forward Steve Moore from behind and slamming him into the ice on March 8. Moore's injuries included a concussion and broken bones in his neck.

In an e-mailed statement, the IIHF said Bertuzzi's behavior was "an extremely serious violation of the rules" that put the "sport into disrepute."

An IIHF statute gives the organization the right to reject any player whose participation would be "detrimental to the best interest of the sport."

Bertuzzi pleaded not guilty to the assault charge and is scheduled to appear in a Vancouver court on Jan. 17. But the player is close to reaching a plea agreement that would result in a reduced sentence, the Vancouver Province reported, citing sources close to Bertuzzi's lawyers.

Bertuzzi faces a maximum sentence of 18 months if convicted.

Bertuzzi also is awaiting a hearing before NHL commissioner Gary Bettman on his suspension.

Bertuzzi missed 13 regular-season games and seven playoff games while losing about $502,000 in salary.

More than 300 NHL players are playing for IIHF-sanctioned teams in Europe.

Worldstars win in Sweden

JONKOPING, Sweden — Ray Whitney scored for the second straight game and added an assist, helping the Worldstars rebound from a loss with a 5-1 victory over Swedish champion HV71.

Whitney scored the Worldstars' goal Thursday in a 6-1 loss to Farjestad of the Swedish Elite League.

The Worldstars, a team of locked-out NHL players backed by the International Management Group, improved to 5-2 on their 10-game, seven-country European tour.

Mats Sundin, one of Sweden's most popular players, assisted on Whitney's goal. Whitney set up Alexander Daigle's score at 14:48 of the first period.

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