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 Bertuzzi's Blunder
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Posted - 03/12/2004 :  10:37:44  Show Profile
Contributed by: Pat Beaulieu

So that's it, that's the verdict.12 games plus playoffs and the possibility of more pending a reinstatment meeting at the beginning of training camp next season. With the dust having settled a bit, a teary and moving apology later, and news that the victim will recover much sooner than thought, the healing can begin. But does the time fit the crime?

That all depends on how you look at it. On one hand you can argue that Bertuzzi got off lightly. Dropping the hammer on a guy from behind, knocking him out on his feet, then driving his body into the ice, leaving him cut up, concussed and with two cracked vertabrae. Cheap, dirty, vicious and cowardly; all these words come to mind when you watch it. "Suspend him for a year!", "Don't let him come back until Moore does!", "Expell him for life!". All suggestions from fans and media from across North America. Bertuzzi's a thug, he's surly and miserable and he's been suspended before, all the more reason to bounce him out of the league.

Then you watch the apology. You see a 6'4 / 250lbs. bear of a man break down under the weight of grief that can only be described as all consuming. If you look close enough you can almost see the shards of his broken heart as he tries to apologize for all the damage he's caused. And make no mistake about it, there's some serious damage and it's not just to Steve Moore. No, Todd Bertuzzi has severely wounded many with his indescretion; The Canucks organization, their fans who have lived and breathed with their team and had visions of Lord Stanley dancing in their head, and not to mention John McCaw's pocket book which will be $250,000 lighter.

They're all big losers in this but the biggest loser is the NHL. With an image that's already as fragile as Eric Lindros' head, impending labour trouble and no U.S. television contract in place for next year, this was the last thing they needed. So faced with all this the NHL had no choice but come down hard. The public demanded it and more importantly the U.S. media demanded it. The problem was, the only precedent was the Marty McSorley slash to Donald Brashear's head (coincidentally Brashear was a Canuck at the time), in wich McSorley was suspended indefinetely. But because Mcsorley was at the end of his career, the league didn't have to follow up on the suspension and Marty's NHL career ended by fading away. With Bertuzzi, the league was dealing with a premier player, in the prime of his career, and on a team with serious Cup aspirations, that plays an entertaining and marketable brand of hockey. The league was stuck between a rock and a hard place to say the least. Too leanient and they'd be derided by the public as condoning such thuggery; too tough and they'd be stripping themselves of one the few marketable assets they have. With a less than noteworthy history of doing the right thing, things looked bleak indeed.

But lo and behold something happened at 9am est. on this, the 11th of March...

...the NHL got it right.

Have an opinion on Pat's article? Let us know. Just hit reply below and post your thoughts. Anything goes...but keep it clean.
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Top Prospect

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Posted - 03/15/2004 :  13:56:14  Show Profile
There are a few things that I need to say about this; first off, I feel bad that Moore got hurt like he did.....but, there are so many other factors involved that are totally overlooked by everbody. I consider myself a knowlegible hockey guy and I know I am not the only person that knows these things.
1. Bertuzzi never planned on attacking Moore before that night or even that shift-he made the decision there and then.
2. Bertuzzi called Moore out and challenged him. He gave Moore the opportunity to answer the bell for his actions against Naslund. Moore skated away and that is why he got hit from behind. Right or wrong, if Moore turned around and dropped the gloves like he should have, none of this would have ever happened.
3. The neck injury could have happened when Bertuzzi FELL on Moore, OR when 4 other guys piled on afterwards. There is no way that Moore's injury or recovery should have any bearing on Bertuzzi's return unless they can undoubtedly prove that they occured solely when Bertuzzi hit him.
4. The media has blown this whole thing way out of proportion. They Latched on to all the key things that would rouse people up like pre-meditated attack and broken neck, and the NHL was bullied into the suspension. The NHL's fragile ego was jeopardized and they only gave Bertuzzi the whole playoffs because they were worried about non-hockey media backlash if they didn't
5. Granato is a friggin hypocrite for everything he said. Look back to 94 when he whacked a guy across the head with a stick because he got hit hard and clean. Much worse offense
6. Colorado fans are friggin hypocrites for condemning Bertuzzi and hockey in general when they were all fine with Claude Lemieux plowing Kris Draper in the back against the boards. Much worse offense.
7. Wayne Gretzky is the biggest hypocrite for condemning Bertuzzi's actions after he came out and defended McSorely after his incident. Much worse offense.
8. $250 000 fine against the Canucks for no reason just proves the fact that the length of suspension was not only to hurt Bertuzzi, but also to get back at Burke for things that he has said about the way the league is run in the past.
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