Vancouver Canucks forward Matt Cooke says that he was only
kidding about putting a ‘bounty’ on Avalanche rookie Steve Moore’s
Unfortunately it doesn’t seem like Todd Bertuzzi was kidding on
March 8 when he retaliated for a hit that Moore landed to Canucks
captain Markus Naslund. Naslund, the leading scorer in the National
Hockey League at the time, received a concussion from an open-ice
hit by Moore that was not called by referees. The absence of
Naslund prompted the Canucks players to seek revenge.
Bertuzzi has become infamous in Colorado for tracking down Moore
on the ice while the Avs were up 8-2, yelling at him from behind
while tugging at his jersey, then topping it off by cold-cocking
Moore in the back of the head with a ferocious, intentional punch.
Moore was knocked unconscious instantly as Bertuzzi finished the
play off by driving his head into the ice and landing on top of
Several minutes later, Moore was taken off the ice by a
stretcher to the local hospital in Vancouver, suffering broken
vertebrae in his neck, a severe concussion and facial lacerations.
He was later transferred to Rose Medical Center in Denver.
Now, more than two weeks after receiving one of the most vicious
attacks ever in a hockey game, Moore has been released wearing a
cervical collar to protect his fractured neck.
“I have seen him,” Avalanche head coach Tony Granato said in a
news release. “He’s doing better and hopefully making progress
toward a full recovery.”
Moore appeared in 57 games for the Avalanche this season,
scoring 5 goals and 7 assists, but he was known more for his
grinding play on the ice. Moore’s return to the league is
“I didn’t bring up whether he’ll play again. I think the best
thing was to talk about everyday life,” said Granato to ESPN
reporters. “I didn’t want to bring up anything about hockey or
what’s going on with that side of things. I think it is probably
too early in his mind to start thinking about that as well.”
Todd Bertuzzi’s suspension handed down by the NHL was swift and
tough. The remainder of the regular season ends up being 18 games,
the playoffs are a possible 28 more and then you have to
incorporate next season as well. I am actually proud of
commissioner Gary Bettman for making such a quick and harsh
Although I feel for Bertuzzi, it does not excuse him for his
actions. He did not think before he acted and the result is that he
wasted his entire season and possibly the Canucks’ chance of
winning a Stanley Cup.
I hope that everyone realizes the severity of Bertuzzi’s actions
and I hope that everyone realizes that this is something that
should not ever be tolerated in any sport. Even though hitting is
part of the game, serious intent to injure is not. Bertuzzi crossed
the line between physical play and downright violence.
Bertuzzi’s hit may have ended a bright career before it got off
the ground. Moore was called out by the Canucks and responded in a
fight in the first period with Matt Cooke, a player of similar
Moore held his own in the fight, and in the end many thought
that the mark on Moore’s head was gone. Bertuzzi shocked what
appeared to be everyone with the exception of Vancouver coach Mark
Crawford, who was seen grinning immediately after the hit.
The Bertuzzi suspension was just and needed to be given for at
least the length handed down. As an addition, Bertuzzi should not
be allowed to play against the Avalanche or Steve Moore ever again,
the same punishment giving to Marty McSorely after his hit on
Donald Brashear. This would not only be a penalty to Bertuzzi, but
it would also protect him from an Avalanche retaliation.