Mancari mauling has Bertuzzi look

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:34 AM ET

From its start to its ugly finish, the incident looked a lot like one of the most highly publicized muggings in NHL history.

A crime committed by a Sudbury native -- Vancouver Canucks winger Todd Bertuzzi -- that both he and the victim --Colorado Avalanche winger Steve Moore -- are still paying for.

"Was that reminiscent of (Todd) Bertuzzi, or what?" Brian Kilrea said with his first words to the media following the 67's 6-2 win over the Wolves last night.

He was referring to Bertuzzi's infamous punch from behind to the face of Moore, early in the calendar year 2004. Bertuzzi is still under suspension by the league and, at last report, Moore had yet to fully recover from the injuries. And Kilrea was right.

Near the 13-minute mark of the third period and with his team trailing by four, Wolves goon Kyle Mussleman clearly wanted to fight the 67's Mark Mancari. From just inside the Sudbury blue line until they reached the Ottawa line, Mussleman tried to get Mancari to turn around and drop the gloves. When it became clear Mancari wouldn't, Mussleman reached around and drove Mancari in the side of the face.

Mancari laid sprawled, face-down, for a minute or two. He finally got up and skated off the ice under the supervision of 67's trainer Brian Patafie.

Later, the only medical report came from Kilrea.

"He's woozy," he said.

"You just wonder," Kilrea added, "if the guy did it on his own ... or did he do it on his own."

The implication, of course, was that Mussleman might have been sent over the boards to fight by Wolves coach Mike Foligno.

"Nobody was sent out," said Foligno. "I don't send players out."

Foligno said he did not see the incident.

"And I didn't see (Benoit) Pouliot or (Ryan) McDonough go down, either," he said, hinting that a couple of his own players were on the end of cheap shots from 67's. "I think there was a lot of frustration both ways."

Sitting on a table outside the Wolves' room after the game, Mussleman's knuckles were cut.

"I can't say anything about it," he replied when asked about the incident. "Personally, I don't want to talk about it. I feel bad (for Mancari) and I hope he's all right."

At that moment, he sounded like Bertuzzi, too.

BETWEEN PERIODS: Most people at the Civic Centre last night were there to see the 67's pull ahead of the Wolves in an entertaining East Conference semi-final that has, as expected, turned vicious. Then there was the group of men who came out to watch Pouliot. Scouts were out in full force to grade the Wolves left winger who hails from nearby St-Isidore, as no fewer than 14 NHL teams were represented by birddogs, including three GMs -- Doug Risebrough (Minnesota), Doug MacLean (Columbus) and Rick Dudley (Florida). Pouliot, a former Hawkesbury Hawk who is listed at 6-foot-2 and 160 lbs., is rated behind only Sidney Crosby on the list of top North American skaters for the NHL draft, whenever that may be. And the next batch of European prospects isn't considered a strong one. "He'll go (in the) top four, for sure" said one NHL scout ... Remember the "Foligno Leap"? That unique, knees-up-high jump Foligno used to do in celebration of goals he scored goals for the Maple Leafs? Well, last night the coach of the Wolves was just hopping mad after his team drew its third consecutive penalty at the 4:46 mark of the first period -- just 47 seconds after Ottawa had erased a 1-0 deficit with Wil Colbert's power-play goal. "I was just ... who won the Masters?" Foligno asked reporters later. "I was just telling the ref I bet on Tiger (Woods) and Killer was trying to tell me he bet on (Chris) DiMarco." ... Fans on the low side of the building lifted a page from the songbook of New York Yankees supporters by chanting "Who's Your Daddy" in the second period. That is, unless they were singing "Who's Your Danny" in recognition of the way 67's G Danny Battochio was beating the Wolves ... Battochio made a spectacular glove save off Jonathan D'Aversa in the first period, but his best stop of the night was on a dive to rob Rafal Martynowski in the second.

CHANGING LINES: It took 149 minutes, 31 seconds for the first fight of the series, but the wait was worth it. Ottawa's Jamie VanderVeeken pummelled Alexander Eaton in front of the 67's bench, but the big Wolves winger battled back to make for quite the bout ... The scrap came just 11 seconds after the 67's had gone ahead 4-1, and a couple of heartbeats after a Sudbury player tried to draw Brad Staubitz into dropping the gloves. The 67's heavyweight defenceman wouldn't bite, on this occasion, but he did get hit with a 10-minute misconduct for getting too close to VanderVeeken and Eaton -- and slapping his stick on the ice in cheering his teammate -- and collecting equipment after the two combatants had been separated.


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