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Criminal Charges Against Pro-Athletes for Cheap Shots?

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
In the Vancouver-Colorado NHL game last night, it was a rough game to say the least. Too many fights to keep track of. Vancouver is known as a tough team, and Colorado and Vancouver are becoming the newest big rivalry in Hockey.

But, the fights were to be expected. What wasn't expected was what Todd Bertuzzi did to Steve Moore. A little background... In a previous game, Moore delivered what was ruled to be a clean hit (by the NHL) on Marcus Naslund, Vancouver's star player. Naslund was out for 3 games with a concussion, and Vancouver thought it was a cheap shot. (Nevermind the fact that OUR star player, Peter Forsberg, has been out with injuries since that game as well, much longer than the 3 games Naslund was out.) After that game, one of the Vancouver players came out and said there was a bounty on Moore's head for that shot on Naslund. All of the players and even the coach got into the act, saying some pretty nasty things about Moore and the Avs.

So, late in the third period, with Colorado up 8-2, Todd Bertuzzi (a big player, at 6'5" and 245 lbs, and known to be tough), tried to call out Steve Moore again (Moore had already been in one fight in the first period), and Moore turned away and skated toward center ice. Bertuzzi followed, dropped his stick, sucker punched Moore in the back of the head from behind, and then jumped on his back driving his head into the ice. Of course, meelee insued and the Canuck's goalie even came out to the red line to call out the Avs goalie (who didn't take him up on his offer). In all of this, the trainers and emergency staff were rushing out to the ice to tend to Moore, who was unconscious and bleeding profusely. It took 10 minutes before he was taken off the ice on a stretcher, still unconscious. Bertuzzi has been suspended without pay indefinitely with a disciplinary hearing to come later this week with the NHL.

Full story:

OK, so there's the background to the immediate situation. Go back a while longer, to another Vancouver player (do we see a pattern here???), who intentionally hit Donald Brashier (a really nasty player - you love him if he's on your team, but HATE him if he's an opponent) with his stick to the face, eye area to be exact, and knocked him unconscious. He was not only suspended for the rest of that season (and has never played in the NHL since...), but was also found guilty on criminal charges of Assault with a Deadly Weapon.

A. Should Bertuzzi be criminally charged for his attack on Moore?
B. In any sport, when there is serious injury and an obvious premeditation to injure the player, should there be criminal charges pressed against them? Would this help or hinder the sports world?

(Sorry this is so long, I'm obviously very upset with the incident last night, and I think that Bertuzzi and Coach Mark Crawford should lose their jobs over this, at the very least. Crawford was LAUGHING after the hit on Moore!)
post #2 of 23
I say yes to both your questions. I'm a big hockey fan, and accept that things often get heated, and that two players can be going at each other all game. It's not necessarily good, but definately not criminal. However, to publicly say that there is a "price" on another player's head (especially the coach!) is uncalled for, unsportsmanlike, and definately shows premeditation.

I think it would help the sports world if athletes are held accountable for situations like this. Violence in sports like hockey or football will happen, but it should happen in the heat of the moment. Unfortunately, athletes are not held accountable often enough.
post #3 of 23
Yes, criminal charges should be filed.

Sports people are supposed to be role models, how many kids out there love sportspeople? If they see people commiting acts of violence on the sports field, and not getting prosecuted for it, then they will think it is okay to be rough and hurt others.
post #4 of 23
Thread Starter 
From Vancouver's Point of View: (If you read it, Brad May is the one who called for the bounty on Moore's head. He is the one defending Bertuzzi as "He tried to do the right thing, absolutely the right thing.") (This one is a really good story, with a lot of quotes from both sides.)

I am glad to see that the Vancouver press is covering this honestly, that it was a cheap shot by Bertuzzi and not making him out to be a hero. The Canucks and the fans were definitely out for blood last night, from the get go.

One more thing, I was incorrect in my first post. Brashear was a Vancouver player when he was hit, the player charged and convicted in Vancouver was from an opposing team. Sorry!
post #5 of 23
This kinda makes me wishes that I listened to the news last night more carfeully.


Just recently in Australia, a footballer, Peter Worsfold was charged with grievous bodily harm after hitting another player in a country match. Worsfold was cleared in the courts yesterday.

But someone did make this comment. "Just because you step over the white line, (meaning the boundary line of the field), it doesn't mean that law doesn't apply."

And yes, despite what commentators and fans may say, Australian Football is a contact sport in my opinion.
post #6 of 23
Thread Starter

Steve Moore has a broken neck (!!!), concussion, and deep facial cuts. From what I understand, the NHL is investigating the whole Vancouver organization from the ground up, talking to players individually.
post #7 of 23
I absolutely think that criminal charges should be brought against anyone who sets out to intentionally harm another, whether it be within the confines of a 'sport' or not.

absolutely disgusting and appalling behavior
post #8 of 23
Not getting into too much detail, because I'm not a hockey fan and don't intend to get sucked up by this event...BUT...

[1] There is far too much violence in pro sports. If hockey can be played clean in the Olympics, why can't it in league play? It's not rocket science.

[2] An event of this sort brings dishonour on my city. I resent that in the extreme. I don't have a great deal of sympathy for these overpaid jocks in the first place; this does not help.

[3] Given the severity of the injuries inflicted in this particular case, if the NHL investigation and/or the police investigation don't turn up enough evidence to throw the book at Bertuzzi, someone is not doing his job.

These remarks are not directed at anyone on this board. They are an expression of my deep displeasure with the event. If they are deemed inappropriate or offensive, please delete this post.
post #9 of 23
Yes he should be charged with assualt and banned from the NHL. This happened in my city btw.
post #10 of 23
Thread Starter 
Fran, you are as much affected by this as any hockey fan and you are absolutley right to be outraged by what this incident has done to the image of your city's sports and the city as a whole. At least the police are investigating this, and we'll know more after today as to what the NHL will do as discipline to Bertuzzi, and I hope to Mark Crawford as well. I also feel for the players that weren't directly involved, because they will inevitably feel repercussions from this as well. It is one thing to use an incident like the hit on Naslund to get the team geared up for the game, but to make the point of the game revenge obviously isn't right. That's what I think Crawford did, and if that's the case then I think the team should be barred from the playoffs.
post #11 of 23
I saw the hit on Moore by Bertucci and I could not believe it. You got to wonder what he was thinking! Marcus Naslund said before the game that he did not want anyone to retaliate for the hit he took. I believe that Naslund is an honorable player. The Canucks were so worried about getting revenge, they didn't even play the game (Avs won 9-2).

I love hockey and this unfortunate event does make it seem that this happens all the time in a NHL game. It doesn't - the last time an event like this happened was back in 2000. By the way, isn't it interesting that Marc Crawford was coach of the Avs when Avs player, Claude Lemieux, hit Kris Draper from behind into the boards and because of his injuries had to have plastic surgery? I don't like Marc Crawford and I think he breeds this kind of behavior into some of his players.

As to your questions, I think Todd Bertucci has to be punished. I've heard some comments that say he should be out as long as Moore is out. I think I agree.
post #12 of 23
Fran, I totally agree with you. Maybe that's the reason I only watch tennis (I'm a huge fan, but it's hardly shown on TV anymore). I don't remember ever seeing, or hearing, of any players coming to blows. If anything is done that's against the rules (players aren't even allowed to curse in the heat of the moment, else they'll lose a point and/or be fined. Of course a player could hit another intentionally while volleying, but I don't remember ever seeing that. Any "ungentlemanly" behavior is booed by the crowd.

Many people find this "Gentleman's game" boring. Maybe one reason is because it's not violent. Players express their grievances in the post-game interviews and other media sources. Most players are very gracious in interviews whether they win or lose.

Jill and Candy
post #13 of 23
I watch virtually no sports. I'm not really into sports to start with, either as a participant or as a spectator. I can enjoy baseball, if it happens to be on when I'm around; likewise golf. I used to enjoy hockey when I was a kid -- but that was back in the dark ages when there were only six teams, and it was still a sport -- not big business.

As for this Bertuzzi mess, the only way I'll believe justice has been done is if the NHL suspends him for as long as Moore is out, AND there are criminal charges and he does time. If he's charged as he should be, he doesn't want me on his jury.

It'll be harder to nail Crawford, if indeed he is the instigator, but he should also have the book thrown at him.
post #14 of 23
I can't claim to be the most experienced hockey game viewer, although I've probably gone to a dozen games or so in my lifetime at the Garden (Rangers). It seems to me that brawling is an expected part of the sport more so than in other sports with physical contact, such as football. My all-time favorite (American) football player is Lawrence Taylor, who dispatched more than his share of quarterbacks in his day, but I never saw him throw his helmet to the ground and incite a melee on the field!

I don't know what the origin of hockey is. I happened to go to a college which is a big-time lacrosse school, so much so that the Lacrosse Hall of Fame is on their campus.Lacrosse reminds me of hockey a lot in that it has similar player positions and rules, altho you throw a hard rubber ball rather than smack a hard rubber puck on ice. They allow both stick and body checking, and the game gets fairly physical. Lacrosse was originally a Native American game, and when it started, it was not unusual for participants to be killed in the course of the game!
post #15 of 23
Just's a slow news day and it made the news in Australia. I'm not anti-world news but 3/4 of the news was sport focussed despite a massive change to our Medicare system about to be put through.


I just saw the footage and despite the "Some viewers may be distressed by the vision." warning and reading this thread, I was still sickened by what I saw. Just seems lucky that Moore's neck didn't break and only fractured.

And here's another thing that got to me. Apparently this attack was payback because Moore attacked a Canadian player earlier in the season. I don't see how this justifies it and I couldn't believe the tone of the news reader either. She said it as if it was justifiable.

I used to play hockey and well too. So what happens to the minds of people who play hockey on ice? Do the neurons freeze and short circuit?

It's disgusting behaviour. Do these 'incidents' occur frequently in the season of NHL? If so, I don't understand why it has to take for someone to attain a serious injury for questions to be asked. Violence is not part of sports. At least that is what I was taught in the many PE lessons at school. Does something change in adulthood?
post #16 of 23
These attacks happen rarely in hockey. It is not acceptable to even other hockey players. Fighting is allowed, but you are never allowed to attack someone from behind, not to check them into the boards, high stick or fighting. The once and while when these incidents occur, makes it seem like this is the norm and it's not. Hockey is a finesse game and beautiful to watch.
post #17 of 23
Thread Starter 
Right, what Nora said is true. This is not at all common in hockey. Even "paybacks", which do happen, are usually settled with one fair fight or a solid, legal, check and that's that. Moore was in two fights in the first two periods with different Vancouver players, and apparently that wasn't enough for the Canucks.

Mags, about the hit on the Vancouver player that this was retaliation was a mid-ice hit, but Naslund was controlling the puck and it was a legal hit. It was a hard hit, and obviously Naslund was injured (missed 3 games with a concussion - meaning he was out maybe 1 week...). There was no penalty on the hit at the time, and the NHL even reviewed it after the game and ruled it legal. My understanding is that they review any hits/checks that result in serious injury. Just like in football, hockey is a very physical sport and injuries do happen in the normal course of play.

In case anyone hasn't heard, the NHL released their "discipline" for Bertuzzi. He is suspended for the remainder of this season, including any and all playoff games Vancouver plays. Vancouver will make the playoffs this year, they are currently sitting 4th seed in the Division and 2nd to Colorado in the Conference.

Bertuzzi held a tearful press conference yesterday, in which he apologized to Steve Moore, Moore's family, hockey fans and Vancouver fans, and kids who watch the game. He was, I think, sincerely sorry. But I also don't think that an apology after the fact counters what he did in the moment....

One more thing. They released yesterday that Moore does NOT have any spinal injury, and at this point is expected to make a "full" recovery. However, whether or not he will ever play hockey again is still up in the air.
post #18 of 23
Thread Starter 
Update on the actions taken by the NHL. (My apologies, I was listening to the radio when the written statement was announced, and they were talking about it as it was being pulled off the wire...)

The NHL will rule at the start of next season whether Bertuzzi can play or not, taking into account Steve Moore's injury status, etc. They also fined the Vancouver Canucks $250,000, which the GM just denouced as being unfair. Whatever.

Now with the details, I do feel better about what the NHL has done.
post #19 of 23
Originally posted by valanhb
They also fined the Vancouver Canucks $250,000, which the GM just denouced as being unfair. Whatever.
...which is a crock, of course, 'cuz I gather they're going to be saving twice that on the salary they're not paying Bertuzzi Gee, life is tough

Now with the details, I do feel better about what the NHL has done.
Yes, that's something of a relief. Next question: will it make the next thug think twice?
post #20 of 23
I think the NHL did a good job of handling the situation. As we mentioned before, even other hockey players were appalled by what they saw Todd Bertucci do. This type of thing does not happen on a regular basis. The last time was in 2000 - 4 years ago. What Todd Bertucci did has nothing to do with hockey.
post #21 of 23
Originally posted by Nora
These attacks happen rarely in hockey. It is not acceptable to even other hockey players. Fighting is allowed, but you are never allowed to attack someone from behind, not to check them into the boards, high stick or fighting. The once and while when these incidents occur, makes it seem like this is the norm and it's not. Hockey is a finesse game and beautiful to watch.
Fighting is allowed??? This just doesn't make sense to me. Maybe it's because I'm not part of the Ice Hockey culture and I see sport as, well a game that is played without fighting. Something that is akin to the movement of Olympics in Ancient Greece.

I don't know of any NHL games aired in Australia and will admit that I have never watched any unless you count "Mighty Ducks".

I'm sorry, but I do not see how fighting could possibly be legal in a game. I can understand injuries being sustained in pursuit of the ball/puck or due to defensive/offensive manouvers.

Perhaps some aspects of the game needs to be changed if players feel so frustrated they need to resort to physical violence.
post #22 of 23
Thread Starter 
Well, fighting is "allowed" but the players who do fight are given 5 minute major penalties (the minor penalty for roughing, high sticking, etc. is 2 minutes, unless there is blood which is then an almost automatic double minor, 4 minutes. When one team gets a penalty, it gives the other team a man advantage for the time they are in the penalty box. (For those who don't watch hockey at all... )). Bertuzzi was given a double major for "intent to injure" after the hit on Moore, essentially removing him from the game since there was only 8 minutes left. There are almost never injuries from the fights. I think every team has an "enforcer", a tough guy who doesn't have the finesse of the real skill players but is a good fighter. These guys step in when the other team is making cheap shots on their star players, etc. The refs don't call every penalty, sometimes pretty blatently not making calls especially in the third period (they say they don't want penalties to determine the outcome of the game). It's just part of NHL hockey, even though it isn't part of Olympic hockey, and there are almost never fights in the playoffs. Although, from what the commentators have been saying, the number of fights have drastically reduced from even 5-10 years ago. In the 70s there would be bench clearing brawls where every player from both teams would be out there fighting someone (which has now been completely outlawed). No way 4 referees could control that!
post #23 of 23

I do think top teams don't seem to have an enforcer anymore. I don't know of an enforcer of Detroit or Colorado's team. Everyone seems to be able to score goals or play defence. I'm not saying that they don't have fighters on their teams, but the people who fight can still skate well and score. There is also the instigater rule in the NHL, whoever starts the fight is issued an extra 2 min.
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