June 24, 2004

Todd Bertuzzi charged with assault: The suspended Vancouver Canucks star faces a trial for mugging Colorado Avalanche player Steve Moore in front of 18,000 witnesses. Moore continues to wear a cervical collar and may never play again.

posted by rcade to hockey at 02:55 PM - 13 comments

I'm glad to see they finally decided to charge Bert. I just would like to know what the hell took them so long? I know they have to gather evidence and so on, but this took forever. It makes you wonder if the decision to charge him is more politically motivated rather than just based on the evidence against him. I imagine he'll be found guilty, but he will get a relatively light sentence. If he has some really good lawyers he might even be able to get off completely.

posted by camcanuck at 03:20 PM on June 24, 2004

His community service will probably be twisted into his sentence. ....and I was having a good day until I saw this headline....what a bummer.

posted by garfield at 03:24 PM on June 24, 2004

I'm glad he's being charged. If the NHL had done the right thing and suspended this ass for life, he might have escaped criminal charges. Now I expect we'll get the BS about how the law should stay out of sporting events. Screw you, Bettman ... take care of your affairs and the police won't get involved. I also reiterate this -- if he ever plays in the NHL again and hurts someone, they will sue the CRAP out of the league.

posted by wfrazerjr at 07:25 PM on June 24, 2004

wfrazer, there has to be another game first.

posted by billsaysthis at 08:09 PM on June 24, 2004

wfrazer, did you read the text of the suspension? You might want to bring that stallion back to the stable, there, hucklberry. They used the word "indefinitely." They left the suspension open ended. It'll be at least a few dozen games, and it may yet be a lifetime ban. No mention of drawing, quartering, tarring or feathering, though, so I understand you thinking Bertuzzi's suspension is not severe enough.

posted by chicobangs at 12:39 AM on June 25, 2004

(cf. McSorley, Marty.)

posted by chicobangs at 12:41 AM on June 25, 2004

I'm sorry, I've got to say I am against the whole thing, it just seems ridiculous to me. In a perfect world, YES, he should be suspended AT LEAST for one full season, possibly more. The NHL handled it poorly, and this is nothing but political pressure to make him deal with the consequences as a result of the league not having enough of a spine to follow through. However, I've said it before and I'll stick by it, this was an ON-ICE incident. The post-incident consequences need to REMAIN within the confines of the league. You can't tell me that hit was any worse than any (pick your own) Dale Hunter shot back in the 80's. Or Chris Chelios' playoff cheap shot against Brian Propp in the late 80's. My goodness, there are so many, take your pick. Granted, this is a different day and age in the league, but I feel strongly that this should be handled within the league. If this hit took place in the alley outside the arena, or even in the back hallway to the locker room, obviously it's a different story. To be clear, I feel absolutely TERRIBLE for Steve Moore, no person should have to go through what he is enduring. But this incident, as ugly as it is, happened on the ice. No off-ice authorities should be putting their hands in this. Ok, I'll get off my soapbox now. Sorry, this whole situation just rubs me the wrong way.

posted by rosey8810 at 10:04 AM on June 25, 2004

As much as I hate flogging deceased equines... I would agree that this should be a league-only problem except for 2 things... a) the hit was away from the play b) it was premeditated. Bertuzzi was headhunting...he wasn't trying to take Moore out of the play...he wasn't defending him...he was gooning it up for payback. Period. And every time I see the video of the tearful Todd saying "I didn't mean to hurt you" I have one word for him...bullshit. Watch the tape of the hit again...he blindsided him, then drove a seemingly unconscious Moore headfirst into the ice...he certainly wasn't trying to keep him from getting hurt. Bertuzzi has a history of dirty play and a reputed short fuse, and if he wasn't such a talented player, then we wouldn't even be having this debate. He should pay the penalty, both on the ice and off...

posted by MeatSaber at 10:39 AM on June 25, 2004

Ok, I hate this issue, and we could go on for days, but meatsaber justifications a & b don't hold up as reason to introduce the legal system into this incident. There may be other reasons, but those are insufficient. Both criteria apply to Domi's sucker elbow on Neidermayer a few years ago in the playoffs. He knowlingly skated over to confront/attack/goon it up with an unwitting Neidermayer. Tie got less than 30 games. Involvement of a weapon(McSorely) of some sort is the usual trigger for criminal proceedings in the NHL. It may be argued that a fully equipped/protected NHL player can constitute assault with a deadly weapon. Is there precedent? I'm not sure. But, in my opinion, a civil suit is warranted for lost future earnings, but not a criminal trial.

posted by garfield at 12:02 PM on June 25, 2004

When I said premeditated, I didn't mean Bertuzzi got the idea during the game to sucker-punch Moore...he issued a public statement days earlier that Moore better watch his back when the 2 teams played this game. I can name a million hits that were premeditated in the sense that they thought to do it before they acted, but this goes way past that... As for not getting outside authority inside the league, does that apply to me at work also? There are a couple people I'd like to sucker-punch here at work, and if I'm immune to the law here at work, and I'll get a vacation on top of it, then I'm all for it. But I know I'll get fired, and I'll probably be charged with assault. Why should Todd Bertuzzi be any different? Why should athletes be above the law when they're at work? Now, I've always been on your side of this issue, and I still am to a degree, but I've never seen anything in any sporting event that was this blatantly viscious, and it needs to be dealt with differently than anything that came before it. And if that means Bertuzzi does some jail time, so be it...

posted by MeatSaber at 01:36 PM on June 25, 2004

Naw, there's been a lot worse injuries in many sports over time. Like deaths. Blatantly viscious attacks. It's a punishable offence, but the frenzy of media surrounding it has rumoved any genuine perspective.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 02:56 PM on June 25, 2004

right, i forgot about that distinction(warnings before games) that you've made here before. that's quite valid, mostly because what was threatened transpired. though i think you'd admit veiled threats are almost expected to be made for media purposes. the obligatory 'this is a different game' when asked in reference to a past meeting of teams that had raised everyone's blood temperature level. immediately followed by the 'we're ready, and we won't be taking prisoners' type of comment. its not the same thing, but intimidations are at the heart of how hockey is played. the comparison to an office job won't fly. their job entails brutalizing opposing teams 4 nights a week. if you are a bouncer, you get to beat the crap out of people on a regular basis, but only certain incidents lead to criminal charges. I've seen some pretty nasty sh!t, and this is pretty bad, but a long suspension, as this will be, and punitive damages paid to Moore is appropriate: Bertuzzi is punished in his wallet two-fold, he is punished personally (being labelled a thug and performing community service), his team is punished as to discourage this type of behavior, and Moore is repaid his potential hockey future.

posted by garfield at 02:59 PM on June 25, 2004

The people who have to be nervous as hell about this are the NHL and the Canucks. If the main prosecution argument is that the hit was premeditated prior to even the game beginning then it would be a very easy to extend responsibility to the NHL and the Canucks for not diffusing it. It will be interesting to see if Bertuzzi even fights this. He could simply plead guilty, and take a settlement of some sort. I imagine he will be under a lot of pressure from the NHL to do just that. If we have a trial other players and coaches could be dragged into the courtroom to testify. Bad publicity for the NHL, but perhaps a wake up call that threats against players off the ice should never be tolerated by the league or the teams.

posted by camcanuck at 03:30 PM on June 25, 2004

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