Thursday, March 11, 2004
Every now and then, I really need to take the time to type out thoughts on things that are happening in the news that I feel strongly about. As most, if not all, of you know, The NHL hockey game between the Avalanche and the Canucks earlier in the week became an appalling spectacle of what is wrong with the sport of hockey. Fortunately, there WERE many bright spots. The Avalanche bounced back from a bad loss in Calgary the night before to hand the Canucks a sound trouncing on the scoreboard. There were fights in which Peter Worrell handed pain and humiliation to Brad May and Steve Moore Decimated Matt Cooke. David Aebischer even held his temper in check through obvious taunting from May and also while being challenged to a fight by Vancouver goaltender Johan Hedberg. Unfortunately, the incident in the 3rd period involving Todd Bertuzzi and Steve Moore is what's etched permanently in my memory and the collective memories of anyone who witnessed it. It truly was one of the most disgusting events in all of sports. It crossed the line.
Summary for those who don't know: Bertuzzi, coward that he is, came from behind on Moore, Tugged his jersey trying to goad him into a fight. When Moore refused to acknowledge Bertuzzi, Bertuzzi struck Moore with a blindside roundhouse. This caused Moore to lose consciousness. Bertuzzi then drove Moore, face-first into the ice. Moore lay motionless in a pool of blood for several minutes and was carried from the ice via stretcher. Ultimately, Moore was diagnosed with fractured vertebrae in his neck, deep facial cuts, a closed head injury and a concussion. He will be hospitalized indefinitely in Vancouver General Hospital and is under close observation. The Vancouver Police have begun an investigation into whether or not they should file assault charges on Bertuzzi, which they SHOULD. See, they set the precedence for this by filing assault charges on Marty McSorley some years back for his slash on then-Vancouver Canuck Donald Brashear. Anything less would expose them for the hypocritical sycophants that they really are.
The NHL today leveled their punishment on Bertuzzi, suspending him for the remainder of the season, including the playoffs. He will also be required to apply for reinstatement for 2004-2005. I can only say that this discipline meets my MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS for punishment. It's not just that I'm an Avalanche fan that I feel this way. I fear that if this situation is not dealt with severely by the league, it won't send the right message. I fear that, since Bertuzzi IS a marquee player, if he is NOT banned for life that an incident like this may happen again, somewhere down the road if a team feels they have nothing to lose. DEAL WITH IT SEVERELY! SEND A MESSAGE! MAKE IT CLEAR THAT THIS BEHAVIOR IS NOT TOLERATED FROM ANY PLAYER, ESPECIALLY AN ALL-STAR! The possibility of a longer ban is there, but I'm sure the probability is not. We'll see if the NHL, like the Vancouver Police, can step up and deliver when it matters most.
Frankly, this is not an isolated incident in the career of Todd Bertuzzi. It's an 'end result' of a pattern of behavior in my opinion.
Bertuzzi is a big fella, there's no denying that. He's so big that his teammates affectionately call him "Shrek." He's an imposing figure who's fast and strong on his skates. He also seems to have a deep-seated bloodlust. A need to injure opposing teams players. He's gone after Adam Foote in the past. He's gone after and injured St. Louis' Al Macinnis. He's consistently hit players from behind, from the blindside or when they are in prone positions. For being one of the league's biggest players, he's also the leagues biggest coward. And now, unfortunately, he can add Steve Moore to his list. He collected the 'bounty.' And he damn near killed Steve Moore.
Bertuzzi offered a tearful, yet questionable, apology to the media yesterday. In this statement, he apologizes to Moore saying that he "never intended to hurt him." You'll have to pardon me when I say that this statement is absolute bullshit. He MOST CERTAINLY intended to injure Steve Moore. There's video that displays Bertuzzi's intent to injure from many different angles. If you attack a man from
behind, I can't think that you have any OTHER intention than to injure. Also, he made a statement to the effect that "this is not the way I play hockey." I beg to differ, Sparky. It certainly IS the way you play. You're a dirty, dirty player, Todd Bertuzzi. On top of that, you're a hypocritical asshole and I, for one, hope you NEVER play hockey again.
Another aspect of this incident is that the US media, who couldn't give a fat rat's ass about hockey under normal circumstances, have been on top of THIS story with a horrid, macabre fervor. Denouncing violence in sports and acting as if hockey is nothing but a goon sideshow is irresponsible journalism. Hockey has a code of conduct among warriors. An honorable tradition that has stood the test of time. Unfortunately, it only receives widespread attention when some idiot breaks the code. Thanks, Todd. You're a real help to the future of the game. Again, hope you never set foot on the ice again. Also, Darren Pang, Analyst for ESPN...Man...Learn to shut up about how much you love yourself for ONE SECOND to comprehend the events that you're 'analyzing.' You're a disgrace to hockey, little man. Your comments about this incident on SportsCenter earlier in the week only helped to display your depth of ignorance about the game. Perhaps you should have paid more attention to it during your brief career.
Yesterday, after fielding the same questions about this from countless co-workers, up to and including the owner of the company, I announced that I was officially tired of talking about the incident. After having had to speak of it with 3 different people again, I had to reinforce my earlier assertion that I was, Indeed, tired of talking about the incident. I'm now tired of typing about it. I hope and pray that Steve Moore makes a full recovery. I hope that Todd Bertuzzi truly IS sorry for what he's done. The hit gave MY WIFE nightmares so I'd hate to think just how horrified Steve Moore's family felt watching everything transpire. I also hope that the NHL and the Vancouver Police prove me wrong and show that they have what it takes to to what needs to be done. Hockey is a great sport. We can't let a few cancerous individuals ruin it for future generations.
Go hockey. Go Steve. Go Avs. Yes...GO AVS!