A Carolina Hurricanes blog with occasional news about the rest of the NHL.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Bertuzzi reinstated

I thought long and hard about whether I should write about this, and I finally decided that I should.

On Monday, Gary Bettman decided to accept Todd Bertuzzi's plea for re-instatement into the NHL. Bertuzzi was suspended "indefinitely" after a vicious attack on Colorado's Steve Moore on March 8, 2004, resulting in a broken neck for Moore. The suspension amounted to 13 regular season games and 5 playoff games. It is said that this was a $501,926.39 forfeiture in salary. Additionally, Bertuzzi was banned from play in Europe and Canada during the lockout.

Bettman believes that Bertuzzi is "genuinely remorseful" for his actions. I actually believe that, but I am not of the opinion that he should be allowed to play again. While he wishes he could take it back, anyone who is familiar with the situation knows that this was an intentional, even planned attack on Moore. It was not a clean hit and served no purpose other than to severely injure Moore. Retaliation for Moore's hit on Naslund isn't a good enough excuse for what happened. Bertuzzi went WAY over the line. To his credit, he knows that he went way over the line, and his tear-filled apology gave him a shred of dignity. Does he deserve forgiveness? I don't think so.

I think Bettman messed this up in the first place by not being more clear about the terms of the suspension. He should have made the suspension "no less than 82 games" instead of using the vague "indefinite". The reason I use that as an example is that's the suspension Marty McSorley got when he clubbed Donald Brashear over the head with his stick. Bettman should have looked for precedence in doling out suspensions for predatory attacks like that. It would have been very easy to come up with the answer. I was disappointed with the terms of the suspension then, and I'm disappointed with the re-instatement now.

Bertuzzi has only missed 13 (regular season) NHL games. Nobody played any NHL games in 2004-05, so I don't think that should have been taken into consideration. Nor should the Canucks' postseason games be taken into consideration.

Meanwhile, Steve Moore is nowhere near ready to play hockey again. There are civil charges pending against Bertuzzi, which should result in significant compensatory damages.

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