Mar 242004
 
Authors: Justin Goldman, Peter Scalia

Vancouver Canucks forward Matt Cooke says that he was only

kidding about putting a ‘bounty’ on Avalanche rookie Steve Moore’s

head.

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

him.

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

uncertain.

“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.”

JUSTIN SAYS:

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

decision.

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.

PETE SAYS

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

size.

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.

 Posted by at 6:00 pm

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