Thursday, March 11, 2004

The Ruling

The NHL has suspended Todd Bertuzzi for the rest of the regular season as well as the entire playoffs, no matter how far the Canucks go, for his sucker punch/tackle on Steve Moore. Gary Bettman will meet with him before training camp next season to decide whether he will be allowed to play in the NHL again. The Canucks were also fined $250,000. NHL VP Colin Cambell said
"In light of numerous player comments about Mr. Moore following the Vancouver-Colorado game of February 16, we believe the Vancouver organization ultimately bears some responsibility for monitoring and, to the extent necessary, attempting to moderate the focus of its team. While the League provided appropriate advance warnings to both organizations...we believe that more could have and should have been done."
Bertuzzi will forfeit $500,000 US of his $6.8 million salary. The announcement came in the wake of a tearful apology to Moore, the Canucks organization and hockey fans in general by Bertuzzi last night. He said "Steve, I just want to apologize for what happened out there. I had no intention of hurting you." The NHL's chief legal officer, Bill Daly, says the Vancouver police need to keep the League's punishment in mind when deciding whether or not to bring charges against Bertuzzi. The police department has apparently gotten "several" complaints in response to the incident and started the investigation because of those complaints. NHL Comissioner Gary Bettman said "We're hoping there is no criminal action. We believe we are adequately and appropriately policing our own game." I am very satisfied with what the NHL has done with this. I completely agree that Bertuzzi should not be able to play again this season and I like how the Canucks are also being partially blamed for what happened Monday night. I'm sure Bertuzzi is really truly sorry because I know he did not mean for it to go as far as it did. However, that does not mean he shouldn't be punished for his actions and I think this is a fair penalty considering what it will do to the Canucks. I don't believe he had no intention of hurting Moore, he obviously did want to hurt him. It is equally obvious, though, that he did not ever mean for it to go as far as it did. The fact that he is such a valuble player to the Canucks is what I like about this punishment, as it stands. The Canucks are significantly weakened by not having him any more and will have a tougher time in an already tough conference come playoff time. Most NHL teams have to make the playoffs to break even and a Canadian team is no exception. The Canucks will need to do well in the playoffs and going without Bertuzzi will make it that much harder for them to do so. I think knowing what he has done to his team and to his fans will be more than enough punishment for Bertuzzi, let alone having to deal with almost killing someone on the ice. Depending on how the Canucks do in the playoffs this year and on Bertuzzi's attitude over the summer, I think he should be allowed back at least half-way through the season. He needs to be made to take anger management classes or something, though.


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