Area hockey fans disgusted with Bertuzzi hit
At North American hockey rinks this weekend, talk of brutality is overshadowing the game's grace. Todd Bertuzzi of the Vancouver Canucks was suspended for the remainder of the season Thursday by the National Hockey League for his Monday attack on...
At North American hockey rinks this weekend, talk of brutality is overshadowing the game's grace.
Todd Bertuzzi of the Vancouver Canucks was suspended for the remainder of the season Thursday by the National Hockey League for his Monday attack on Colorado Avalanche forward Steve Moore.
The league came down hard on the 6-foot-3-inch, 245-pound Bertuzzi, also fining him $500,000, his team $250,000 and forcing him to wait and see how Moore's recovery goes before the league will consider a reinstatement next fall.
Moore, lost for the season, has a broken neck and deep cuts on his face after Bertuzzi punched him from behind, then landed on him. Moore remained in stable condition Thursday in a Vancouver hospital.
Bertuzzi may also face criminal prosecution from Vancouver authorities.
"This is not a part of our game, it has no place in our game, and it will not be tolerated in our game," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said Thursday in handing down Bertuzzi's hockey sentence.
Video of Bertuzzi's attack has streamed across TV sports highlights shows and Internet sites all week.
Those in the hockey world who have seen it are, for the most part, embarrassed for the sport:
"If someone went out and did what he did to that guy on the street, they'd be considering whether he should remain in society. He (Bertuzzi) should be banned from the game of hockey for life. From the sounds of it, he may have taken away this guy's livelihood. There's no call for that. The pros need to clean up their game. How do you explain what he did to kids? Hockey is the fastest game in the world, but it requires discipline. The purpose of hockey is to build character. They should show more respect for their fellow players,"
-- Johnny Noah, University of North Dakota (1947-51) first All-American hockey player, hockey silver medalist in the 1952 Olympic Games in Norway, current youth coach in Fargo Saints Youth Hockey program.
"I'm pretty much all for what they (the NHL) did. They had to give him the rest of the year and the playoffs and make a decision next year. But I think what they did was the minimum. I mean, the guy (Moore) was already knocked out before he hit the ice, and then it continued from there. Maybe let him (Bertuzzi) come back when Moore can come back. Maybe that's the proper punishment."
-- Jeff Aikens, owner of Kostka Sporting Goods, Fargo, and former coach of North Dakota State University club hockey team.
"It was vicious. But I don't think it was intended to do what it did to the guy. As for the ruling, I thought it was outstanding. Waiting for Moore to come out of it is part of that. If he has some longstanding effects from the hit, Bertuzzi could be out a lot longer. I also think it's good the team was fined. That sends a message."
-- Dennis Bushy, member of Moorhead Youth Hockey committee and manager of the organization's arena.
"I've never condoned anything like that. It was terrible. Players need to clean up their acts. Hockey is rough enough played legally. There's no such thing as a good penalty. You lose a guy for two minutes or more in the box. And I don't think any human being, in my estimation, would set out to break somebody's neck, but that's what happened. We don't realize how big these guys are. I'd hate like hell to be out there today."
-- Serge Gambucci, coach of Grand Forks (N.D.) Central boys hockey, 1955-1970, currently off-ice officials advisor for the Western Collegiate Hockey Association in Grand Forks.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Gerry Gilmour at (701) 241-5560