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Former NHL player apologizes to media: ‘Sorry if I was a douche’

Todd Bertuzzi had some regrets about how he treated the media during his 18-year NHL career.

“I was too hard, I told you guys, ‘Sorry if I was a douche, man,'” Bertuzzi told Sportsnet 650’s “Starting Lineup” on Tuesday. “It’s true, I wasn’t very co-operative at times because I wasn’t ready for that stuff. I didn’t want to speak every day.

“I was paid to go play hockey and entertain fans not to have stuff written in the paper. I could care less what was written in the paper, the stories that you guys needed. I just wanted to go play hockey and entertain fans, that’s all I wanted to do.”

The 45-year-old Bertuzzi, who began his career with the New York Islanders, also played for the Vancouver Canucks, Florida Panthers, Detroit Red Wings, Anaheim Ducks and Calgary Flames.

Bertuzzi — a hard-charging power forward throughout his career — is widely known for sucker-punching Avalanche forward Steve Moore in a 2004 game while he was a member of the Canucks. Bertuzzi fractured multiple vertebrae in Moore’s neck, ending his NHL career.

Todd Bertuzzi
Todd BertuzziAnthony J. Causi

He pled guilty to criminal assault causing bodily harm and was sentenced to one year of probation and 80 hours of community service. Moore also settled his lawsuit against Bertuzzi, but terms weren’t not made public.

Bertuzzi — who faced intense media scrutiny for several months for his role in the incident — also served a 15-month suspension from hockey, according to The New York Times.

Bertuzzi said he wished he handled the media maelstrom better during his career.

“Getting older and understanding that a lot more comes with it, I’m sure things would have been less abrasive after 2004, but at the same time what’s done is done and we all learn,” Bertuzzi said. “If people want to hate me or have an opinion on me because of that then that’s OK I’m fine with that.

“Vancouver, you know what, looking at it now, they were great, they really were. I was just at that point annoyed with having to answer the same set of questions, I was not prepared for what I needed to do.”

The former right winger played 518 career games, scoring 188 goals and adding 261 assists.

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