Bertuzzi makes Canada's Olympic team

Thursday, December 22, 2005

The Canucks forward was involved in incident in 2003-04 season.

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Canucks forward Todd Bertuzzi was selected to the Canadian men's Olympic team on Wednesday, but Pittsburgh Penguins rookie Sidney Crosby was left off the team for the Turin Games.

The 23-member team for the defending Olympic champions, primarily made up of veterans and former Olympians, was announced at the GM Place in Vancouver. All 23 play in the NHL.

Bertuzzi, whose blindside punch left Colorado's Steve Moore with a broken neck two seasons ago, was reinstated by the NHL in August. He had pleaded guilty in a Vancouver court to criminal assault Dec. 22, 2004 and was given a conditional discharge.

Bertuzzi was suspended for the final 13 regular-season games of the 2003-04 season and the Stanley Cup playoffs, and his banishment continued throughout last season's NHL lockout. He was also barred from the World Cup of Hockey in September 2004, the past two world championships and all European leagues last season.

"He's a forward that we've targeted for some time and felt that when he's on his game, he's one of the most difficult if not the most difficult forward in the game to handle down low," said Kevin Lowe, Team Canada's assistant executive director.

Crosby, the Penguins' rookie center, was the first pick in this year's NHL draft. He ranks second among NHL rookies and 29th overall with 33 points on 14 goals and 19 assists.

New Jersey goaltender Martin Brodeur, one of Canada's returning gold medalists, said Crosby was just a victim of his country's rich talent pool.

"He's a young guy," Brodeur said. "When you have the privilege of playing for the greatest hockey country, there are only so many players. It's not that he's not worth being there, it's just because he's in a situation that Team Canada has a new wave of young players playing the game."

Colorado Avalanche center Joe Sakic was named captain.

"We definitely will be one of the favorites if not the favorite," Brodeur said. "When you've won it, everybody wants to take you down a little bit."

Defensemen who are returning to defend Canada's gold medal include Colorado's Rob Blake; Columbus' Adam Foote; Vancouver's Ed Jovanovski; Anaheim's Scott Niedermayer and Edmonton's Chris Pronger. Forward headed back to the games were Philadelphia's Simon Gagne; Calgary's Jarome Iginla; Sakic and Edmonton's Ryan Smyth.

Rounding out the roster were goaltenders Roberto Luongo (Canadiens) and Marty Turco (Panthers); defensemen Wade Redden (Senators) and Robyn Regehr (Flames); and forwards Bertuzzi, Shane Doan (Coyotes), Kris Draper (Red Wings), Dany Heatley, (Senators), Vincent Lecavalier (Lightning), Brad Richards (Lightning), Rick Nash (Blue Jackets), Martin St. Louis (Lightning) and Joe Thornton (Sharks).

The reserves are Eric Staal (Hurricanes), Jason Spezza (Senators) and Bryan McCabe (Maple Leafs).

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