Still more on the Bertuzzi attack

An entry on a Vancouver Canucks message board showed up in my referrer stats, so I wandered over to check it out. Predictably, it was about the Todd Bertuzzi attack on Colorado Avalanche forward Steve Moore that left Moore with a broken neck and Bertuzzi suspended.

Posted: Thu Mar 18, 2004 1:01 am

I see where this is going… someone’s mad that we’re trying to downplay his injury. Sorry, but when someone mentions the word “broken neck”, two things come to mind, death, and paralysis, NEITHER of which apply to this case.

And it’s crap like THIS:

That makes us speak up when people feel the need to grossly exaggerate the situation.

I particularly like this part:

In the third period of a thrashing at the hands of the Avalanche, Bertuzzi skated up behind Moore, grabbed his sweater, and, when Moore turned to see what was going on, sucker-punched him in the side of the head. Moore immediately collapsed, and the 245-pound Bertuzzi fell on top of him, driving Moore’s head into the ice and pummeling at will. Moore’s teammate Andrei Nikolishin tried to pull Bertuzzi off, but to no avail.

When Bertuzzi was finally pulled away, Moore was lying face down in a puddle of blood, his neck broken. He also suffered a concussion and other injuries. They carried him off on a stretcher, and he remains hospitalized in Vancouver. When he can be moved, he will be transferred to a Denver hospital.

Boy isn’t that an interesting piece of fiction there. By that you’d think Bert got 5 more shots in, Nikolishin pulled him off instead of jumping on both of them, he lost 5 quarts of blood onto the ice, and died right there on the spot. [emphasis in original]

Fiction usually means “untrue”. What did I write that isn’t true? I’m not sure. If you watch the video, Bertuzzi clearly keeps punching Moore after they go down. I guess I can’t say with certainty that Nikolishin was actually trying to pull Bertuzzi off, but it certainly appears that he tried to snag Bertuzzi as he went over, and just stopped dead on top of him. In any event, does anyone really think it was Nikolishin’s intent to dogpile on top of his stricken teammate? As for the blood on the ice, there definitely was more than a few drops. I had initially written “pool” instead of “puddle”, but changed it (before posting) after repeated viewings of the incident becasue I felt that the word “puddle” more accurately described it. I guess it depends on how you define “puddle”, but five quarts is not one. As for dying right there on the ice, the writer is probably just upset and is over-blowing even his own interpretation of my post.

The reaction by Canucks fans is disappointing but predictable. This morning I also received a comment on my post. I will quote it and comment as I go (my comments in italics):

You people have not got a clue what the hell you are talking about. Try WATCHING a hockey game sometime. You will see that this is not all that uncommon.

Well, try READING my post sometime. You’ll see that I agree that this is not at all uncommon.

Yes, Todd Bertuzzi was wrong in his actions. But that is what happens when the pressure is on, as it was in this game, and emotions are high. I defy any one of you sanctimonious prigs to honestly say that you have never made a wrong decision in your life. If you haven’t yet, YOU WILL! That is a part of life. We live with our choices, good or bad. Ask Granato (Head coach of the Avs) He knows all about “Bad choices”. He was handed a FIFTEEN game suspension for his actions as a player on the ice when he was involved in an altercation.

Yes, we live with our choices, good or bad. Bertuzzi made a bad choice, and now he (and Vancouver fans) have to live with it. And Granato DOES know. Maybe he learned a lesson. Maybe Bertuzzi and other NHL players will learn a lesson from this incident.

The game is called HOCKEY. It is not a “nice” game. You don’t go for the warm fuzzies people.

The NFL is far more violent than the NHL. Football is not a nice game. You don’t go to football games for warm fuzzies. Yet you rarely ever see a fight in the NFL and you often see several fights in the NHL. Why is that?

I’d still like to hear Steve’s side of the story. Why is he being kept away from the media? He is obviously awake and able to communicate, yet nothing has been said by him. Nor is his condition being released other than the initial statement made by Vancouver General the day following the incident. Why is this?

I also would like to hear more from Moore. The Denver Post has had some vague updates on his condition, but it certainly is being kept quiet. The DP reports today that Moore is progressing well and might be able to leave the hospital soon. In any event, unless that Moore tells us that his neck was ALREADY broken, anything he has to say doesn’t really affect Bertuzzi’s suspension or the fact that violence is too out of control in the NHL.

What really irks me about all this is I don’t really care for Todd Bertuzzi. But I find myself being forced to defend him in this matter. He made a poor choice. That is all.

Why are you “forced” to defend Bertuzzi’s actions? By defending what he did, you [appear to] condone it. You can stand by your guy without defending what he did.

This was not attempted murder. He did not continue to pound on Steve as you all seem to think he did. He did not slam his head to the ice.

This certainly wasn’t attempted murder, and I don’t think anyone claims that it was. However, he clearly DID continue to pound on Moore after they went down. That is indisputable. Bertuzzi maybe did not intentionally slam Moore’s head into the ice, but he clearly sucker-punched him from behind and rode him down. What else could have happened besides Moore’s head getting slammed into the ice? The broken neck is absolutely a result of Bertuzzi’s attack, whether it happened on the punch, upon impact with the ice, or when the other players piled on.

He is very distraught. And you all should be ashamed of yourselves for your words and actions towards him.

Bertuzzi had damn well better be distraught. Whether intentionally or not, he ended a fellow player’s season, threatened his career, and potentially risked his life for playground justice. And not only am I not ashamed of myself for my words, but I am actually rather proud of what I’ve written and feel that I have been more than fair, considering that Moore is a member of my personal-favorite ice hockey team.

Oh, by the way…It isn’t like a Canadian beat up on an American the way most of you seem to think. Todd is Canadian, Steve is Canadian, it happened in Canada, and oh yeah, the Avalance IS a Canadian team (nee Nordiques), it is just housed in Colorado.

The only mention of “Canada” is in your comment. I am unaware of any Canada vs. America discussion about this. And the Avalanche WAS a Canadian team. Or are the Dodgers and Giants New York baseball teams housed in California? The Avs are proud of their Nordique heritage, but Colorado is certainly in the USA and I don’t see them moving any time soon.

Regarding Moore’s condition, today’s Denver Post has this:

The Avalanche reported Moore’s injuries as fractures to the C3 and C4 transverse process vertebrae, along with spine ligament injuries at the C3 and C4 level, a closed head injury with concussion and multiple facial lacerations and abrasions.

As bad as Moore’s injuries sound, the director of the University of Colorado Hospital Spine Center said things could have been much worse.

“If that’s what Mr. Moore’s injuries are and where they’re described, he’s a lucky man,” said Dr. Venu Akuthota, who has not examined Moore. “I saw the incident to him on television, and I’ve seen many cases where patients fell just like he did and ended up with permanent spinal injuries and worse. But injuries in the C3, C4 area typically don’t involve spinal cord injury.”

Akuthota said the typical recovery time for patients with fractures in the C3, C4 transverse process is six to 12 weeks.

“Patients like Mr. Moore can become completely, 100 percent healed and resume their normal lives. In his case, he would be able to resume his hockey career,” Akuthota said.

Akuthota said Moore was most fortunate that he did not sustain spinal cord damage when he was knocked unconscious.

“When you’re unconscious, the muscles don’t have (voluntary movement). The muscles aren’t contracting and won’t do everything normal to protect the spinal cord in many cases,” Akuthota said. “You could see Mr. Moore had immediate concussion from the punch to the head.”

While this is welcome news, the fact that Moore is still in the hospital more than a week after the incident is telling, no?

It’s too bad that so many hockey fans are too partisan to see that this incident is only one of many, and that something needs to be done. I hope that Moore heals completely, I hope that Bertuzzi is treated fairly, and I hope that the NHL addresses it’s violence problems.


  1. I think you called it right, Murdoc. I caught the footage too and it was more than just one hit. That poor guy is lucky to be alive and wasn’t killed or paralyzed.

  2. For all you people trying to go agianst bertuzzi should stop,.becuase if you can get as many goals as he did,.which i think not ,.so shut your mouth

  3. ((While this is welcome news, the fact that Moore is still in the hospital more than a week after the incident is telling, no?)) Yeah, it tells me that Steve Moore is a total puss….