Bertuzzi given 10-game suspension

Vancouver Canucks Todd Bertuzzi received one of the longest suspensions in NHL history, an automatic 10-game ban for leaving the bench to start a fight.

Colin Campbell, the NHL vice-president of hockey operations, made the announcement on Monday after reviewing an incident stemming from the Canucks' game against the Avalanche last Saturday.

With 6:51 left in a 4-0 home win over Colorado, Bertuzzi left the bench to join a fight between teammate Ed Jovanovski and Avalanche enforcer Scott Parker.

Bertuzzi received a game misconduct and was automatically suspended under Rule 72 after leaving the players' bench "for the purpose of starting an altercation."

In addition to the suspension, Bertuzzi will forfeit 10 games' pay, or $118,556.

The Canucks were fined an additional $10,000.

Parker also was suspended two games for entering the game on a legal line change and starting an altercation. He will forfeit $6,055.

Bertuzzi's suspension is just the 17th of 10 games or more in NHL history and the sixth since Campbell was named the league's "deputy" for the 1998-99 season.

Bertuzzi has a goal and three assists in five games this season.

Last season, he blossomed into one of the best power forwards in the NHL, recording 25 goals and 30 assists in 79 games.

Bertuzzi's suspension is an early blow for the young Canucks, who are last in the Northwest Division at 2-3-0.

Bertuzzi will be eligible to return to the lineup Nov. 6 at Columbus.

Canucks coach Marc Crawford defended Bertuzzi's action but admitted he could have used more common sense.

"The penalty in this case really doesn't fit the crime," said Crawford.

"We're just going to have to deal with it. We all appreciate that Todd acted emotionally and he was going to the defence of his teammates, which is one of the things that endears us as a team. We have to be a team that sticks up for one another, you just have to use common sense."