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MCSORLEY AWAITS JUDGE'S DECISION

Testimony concluded Thursday in Marty McSorley's assault trial in Vancouver, with the NHL player set to learn the judge's verdict next Friday.

McSorley, who has played in the NHL for 17 seasons, could get up to 1 1/2 years in prison if convicted of assault for clubbing Vancouver's Donald Brashear in the head during a Feb. 21 game between the Boston Bruins and Canucks.

The blow is not in dispute. The judge will try to determine whether such an attack in an NHL game constitutes assault.

On Thursday, former Boston player Steve Heinze testified that hits to the head are a "common occurrence" in the NHL.

"You always get your bell rung a few times a season," said Heinze, who now plays for the Columbus Blue Jackets. "Pinpoint accuracy is not something that occurs as a guy is flying by you. You can only aim for a spot."

His testimony was intended to support the defense's contention that stickwork is common and to reinforce McSorley's claims that he intended only to hit Brashear in the upper shoulder.

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