This is a reply to my last Todd Bertuzzi post from Mr. Canucks Delme Herbert.
It's almost 4:30 am in Osaka, Japan. I'm watching a fantastic hockey game on satellite: the Vancouver Canucks @ Colorado Avalanche from March 4. The game ended in a 5-5 tie. It was a showcase of what makes the NHL, and the game of hockey, truly great.
A week later in a rematch between the two teams in Vancouver, the ugliest aspect of the game I love reared its head.
We all know what happened. Bertuzzi's act was vengeful, idiot and vicious. It has potentially cost Steve Moore his career, shamed the Canucks organization and its fans, and tarnished Bertuzzi's own career. I've had a dark cloud over me since I read the game summary two days ago.
I championed Bertuzzi's name years ago, proclaiming that he was the man to lead the Canucks from the depths of despair and back to respectability. For the past few years, Bertuzzi, along with Markus Naslund, has done that; last season, the Canucks were one of the best teams in the NHL. Now Todd Bertuzzi is a monster that may never skate on an NHL ice-surface for quite some time, all because of a temper he couldn't control and a "tough-guy" stigma that he just couldn't shake. Bertuzzi had developed into a skilled player; an offensive, as well as a physical force. The sucker punch on Moore should never have happened, but Bertuzzi should've learned by now that he is no longer the one to dish out payback of this sort--leave that to the Brad Mays of the world.
The folly of the NHL, and the sport, is that while Bertuzzi is being vilified by the media, fans and colleagues alike, these incidents will go on happening. So while players and coaches are quick with the cliches about hits like that on Steve Moore being "unacceptable" and "having no place in the game," the cycle of violence and retribution will continue. Bertuzzi will be a marked man once he re-enters the league, and it may not even be an Avalache player that feeds him his lunch.
Don't worry Delme. I'll melt down the Todd McFarlane Todd Bertuzzi figures I bought for you. We will cleanse his name from our memories.
I think the problem with the hit was it was so against the actual play of the game. It just came out of nowhere and was reckless. It looked premeditated, like sour grapes, and the fact that the Canucks were being spanked didn't help.
But this in no way can be played off as anger in the heat of the game. It wasn't a little extra shot in the corners nor even a classic Messier type elbow paying a player back for a cheap shot. It was a large guy basically mugging another guy from behind in centre ice.
If the Canucks had a year to win the Cup it was probably this one. That chance is gone now. Maybe if Nausland sticks around for another year they can try next year, but they're time is running out and Bertuzzi just fucked them big time.