Punch offside, puck fans say

TOBI COHEN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:09 AM ET

Kids may be impressionable but the sucker-punch that landed Canucks winger Todd Bertuzzi in hot water last March certainly didn't leave a good impression.

Many young hockey players and their parents are equally unimpressed with the punishment Bertuzzi will get after lawyers plea bargained a conditional discharge and no criminal record in exchange for a guilty plea yesterday.

"I don't think he should be able to play anymore," said nine-year-old Graham Hicks who "kinda liked him" before the melee with Steve Moore of the Colorado Avalanche.

"I think he should serve time," his dad Kevin added before a game at the Sensplex. "If you or I did that to someone, we'd end up in jail."

Fifteen-year-old Michael Sexton agreed, noting he used to like Bertuzzi but has since lost all respect for him.

While Mary Towers, 13, thinks it's unfortunate that he should have to go through all this, she noted he wouldn't have to had he "not done it in the first place."

Mom Christina is disappointed that the judge didn't wait for Moore to deliver his victim impact statement before passing his sentence.

'DIRTY HIT'

Not everyone has it in for Bertuzzi. While both Belay Kifle and his daughter Maraki, 11, agree the hit was dirty, they don't think court is the proper place to deal with it.

"It was a dirty hit but I don't think he intended to hurt him that much," said Maraki.

"It happens in a sport situation. It's not like it was in a bar or at a demonstration," Belay added.

And then there's nine-year-old Kyle Pranke who thinks it's just too close to Christmas to be sending anyone to jail, even if the hit was the "wrong thing to do."


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