Thursday, March 10, 2005


Old Boys Club comes to the defence of Todd Bertuzzi

It’s been a year now since Todd Bertuzzi was suspended for his mugging-from-behind of Colorado’s Steve Moore. From recent comments in the media, you’d might think that Todd Bertuzzi was the ultimate victim in all of this.

How nice for Bertuzzi that some of his NHL peers to come to his defence. Why haven’t we heard any NHLers stick up for Steve Moore? I guess it’s Moore’s fault that he got smoked like Montreal Meat.

Scott Niedermayer will decline an opportunity to play for Canada in the 2005 world hockey championship tournament, but believes indefinitely suspended Canucks winger Todd Bertuzzi should be reinstated in time for consideration.

"I think he's paid a pretty big price," Niedermayer said Tuesday from Kamloops, where he was honoured as a Blazer Legend along with franchise grads Jarome Iginla, Darcy Tucker, Shane Doan, Tyson Nash, Darryl Sydor, Ryan Huska and Darryl Reaugh.

"I don't know if it's the right price or not -- because we don't want things like that [Steve Moore attack] to happen -- but if he is reinstated, I'd be all for him," added the New Jersey Devils defenceman.
Nothing wrong with Niedermayer’s comments at all. Bertuzzi has paid a big price in terms of killing his team’s playoff chances, losing a whole lot of salary, and missing a boat load of games. Bertuzzi hasn’t been exactly slapped on the wrist with a plastic ruler.
Still, why hasn’t there been any resolution to his case?

Agent Pat Morris applied for his client's reinstatement on Aug. 31, but was not sure Tuesday when NHL commissioner Gary Bettman would address the request.
Morris didn't return calls from The Province, but told the TEAM 1040 he hopes patience pays off.

"We've been co-operative with the spirit of collective bargaining agreement attempts and thought that was more important than Todd getting reinstated," said Morris, who hasn't discussed the world tourney with Bertuzzi.
"So, we've been patient we'll have our day within the near future. But there is no date I can speak of."
There are more than enough hours in Gary Bettman’s day to deal with non-CBA issues. Bertuzzi, at the very least, deserves to have some clarity and closure to his banishment.

If Bettman wants him out for another year, then make the damn decision and give Bertuzzi some ability to plan his future. Why should Bertuzzi twist in the wind and have any potential ‘career’ in Europe or anywhere else be hampered because Bettman can’t sit down for an hour and make a decision?
You wouldn’t have Judge Dredd wait a year to hand a sentence down to an ex-con who hijacks a vending machine, would you?

Perhaps Bertuzzi’s agent needs to exercise less patience and a little more annoyance.

On the topic of the World Hockey Championships, I don’t really want Bertuzzi representing team Canada.

Bertuzzi has shown himself to be a major liability in past World Championships (steamrolling over Roman Cechmanek late in a crucial game, among other things) and he hasn’t played any high-level hockey this season. There are plenty of skilled players in Europe who have been playing and deserve the chance to represent Canada (Daniel Briere, Rick Nash, and so forth).

Given Bertuzzi’s current playing status, bringing him on Team Canada would likely just bring more problems than benefits. When the NHL (or WHA2) starts up, Bertuzzi can start fresh – He just deserves to know when he can start playing pro hockey again.

I don't know if Scott Niedermayer's comments really reflect a "defense" of Bertuzzi; or a defense of Bertuzzi and a non-defense of Steve Moore as some of the phrasing implies. Sticking up for Bertuzzi would be saying the punishment is too harsh, this is more like "he's done his time". Nothing against Moore.

However, there's little you can say to stick up for Moore without attacking Bertuzzi. I have little doubt all players hope he recovers quickly, but how much else is there that's supportive without speaking of Bertuzzi in a negative manner?
I think the players may be disgruntled with Moore in that he hasn't "sucked it up" and moved on. I'm sure they're hoping for his recovery but they may see him as some kind of outsider who isn't playing by the rules versus Bertuzzi, who may have "stretched" the rules but who is allowed to as an accepted and proven member of the gang. What David said in his comment is tied into that. Since Bertuzzi is a bona fide NHL star, they're probably hesitant to speak out against him.

Bertuzzi is a big man who has proven he has anger management problems. Bad mouthing him is probably not high on a lot of guys' list of things to do.
Ok, so 'defence' wasn't the best choice of a word....but that's what Niedermayer plays :)

I agree that the NHL players probably think that Moore is being a big baby and should take his attack-from-behind like a 'man'

My overall point was that I wish some other NHLers would stick up for Moore. The media and the fans are bashing Bertuzzi, but the other players aren't...not even Joe Sakic or Rob Blake.
(They are probably afraid of what Bert would do to them when he gets back)
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