INDEPTH: THE BERTUZZI INCIDENTWhat they're sayingCBC Sports Online | Last updated
June 25, 2004
The Bertuzzi incident both the on-ice attack
and the off-ice legal proceedings has elicited strong reactions
from the league, the press and the public. Some inside the game speak
their minds, while others are leery of feeding the firestorm. Here
is a sampling of opinion.
From June 25, 2004 One day after Bertuzzi was charged with assault
Vancouver Canucks forward, NHLPA president
"I've always felt that the game should govern itself and our game you can't compare to real-life stuff. It's not somebody walking down the street and assaulting someone. Todd has paid a more severe price than anyone would pay in being charged with assault.
"I really feel it [trial] is a waste of money and time judges' time and lawyers' time."
Vancouver Canucks winger
"I think this opens up the door for every little incident," said Keane. "Why can't [Henrik] Zetterberg sue Bryan Allen for breaking his leg? The league does a solid job policing itself and I think Todd has served his penalty."
Todd Bertuzzi's agent
"Todd is a friend and a client. We were hoping it would not come to this, but obviously it has. So now we will face each step in the process and hope for the best."
Colorado Avalanche general manager
"Our main concern remains for [Steve Moore] to fully recover from this unfortunate incident."
Globe and Mail columnist
"This trial, which will be every bit as Barnum and Bailey as the [Marty] McSorley proceedings, might again solve nothing, might produce a conclusion that isn't entirely satisfying to any of the parties involved. And unlike the McSorley case, there's a second chapter likely to follow, a civil suit in which those called to account for their actions might include all kinds of people beyond Bertuzzi."
Veteran criminal lawyer
"This case will be analyzed by lawyers for years to come."
Toronto Star sports columnist
"I'm certainly not unhappy that Bertuzzi has been charged. It was established a long time ago that the Canadian justice system does have the right to intervene in the sport of hockey, and at least this time a crown attorney's office has proven a willingness to prosecute the home team."
From March 11, 2004 Three days after the incident
Hockey Night in Canada broadcaster
"I'm not surprised at the suspension at all. I think most of us are
in agreement that it was obvious he (Bertuzzi) wouldn't play again
this year. To me (NHL executive vice-president and director of hockey
operations) Colin Campbell had no alternative. It was a just decision,
but a painful one for Vancouver Canucks fans.
"The team was not playing that great the last few weeks. That said,
they had Stanley Cup aspirations until this. It puts a black cloud
on the team and it will be tough to remove it."
"It (the length of suspension) was very appropriate. Absolutely nothing
good comes out of this. I think people now have a full understanding
of how embarrassing and how selfish it was."
Due to travel commitments, Davidson didn't see the incident until
Tuesday morning. He recalled a 12-game suspension handed to then-Los
Angeles Kings forward Matt Johnson for "a cheap sucker-punch from
behind" against former New York Rangers defenceman Jeff Beukeboom
on Nov. 19, 1998.
"If the league had realized the severity of that incident, I think
Matt Johnson would have got more. He ended a man's career. This may
result in a bigger suspension (for Bertuzzi) if Steve Moore's career
"I don't want to pile on Todd Bertuzzi, but this stuff is so inappropriate.
As a Canadian in the U.S., you're trying so hard to build the game.
Youth hockey in the States is growing. It's a good game. But stuff
like this, it gives people a black eye, the sport a black eye. The
league has to be tough on this."
Colorado Avalanche player
"It's pretty harsh. We know Todd feels bad about it and the league
did what they had to do.
"The most important thing for us is that Steve is doing better, and
really that's it."
Vancouver Canucks captain
"Todd, you all saw, he's a mess. And he's so regretful for what he has done, and he knows it was the wrong thing to do. But he can't change it now."
NHL's executive vice-president and director
of hockey operations
"It's severe. We did with Todd Bertuzzi like we would anyone in the
situation. Because Todd Bertuzzi is an impact player, this will hurt
the Vancouver Canucks' chances of being successful in the playoffs,
but that didn't matter."
"I think ultimately we'll be judged on our response and the message
that it sends. The message that's being sent is this is not a part
of our game, it has no place in our game, and it will not be tolerated
in our game."
Associated Press sports writer
"One of these days, the NHL will finally get it. That will be the
day one of its goons kills another player on the ice. Don't think
it can't happen. It almost did Monday night."
Toronto Star sports columnist
"There was premeditation. There was intent to injure. There was extreme
violence. For this, Bertuzzi should forfeit his right to participate
in the NHL. He should be banned for the rest of this season, including
the playoffs. And if someone wants to make an argument for a permanent
ban, I'd be willing to listen."
NHL player agent
"I think it's a step in the right direction. I think everyone involved realizes what happened is beyond what is acceptable in professional sports. Players have to respect each other.
"I hope we don't see stuff like this again. It looks like Steve Moore is going to recover and that's important.
"I think incidents like this are few and far between, thankfully. This is just an isolated incident, I believe. Now the NHL can get back to eliminating the clutching, grabbing and holding instead of trying to change rules."
ESPN hockey commentator and former NHL coach
"This situation isn't necessarily a black eye for hockey, though,
because anyone who doesn't like the physical nature of the sport is
going to bash it anyway. It's amazing that Major League Baseball cannot
get its players to submit to drug testing and has pitchers who throw
at guy's heads, yet people zero in on one unfortunate incident in
hockey and point to it as an example of what's wrong with the game."
Vancouver Canucks GM on the media's treatment
"Because he is not warm and fuzzy with you, you've taken this opportunity
to kick the crap out of him and I think it's been just shameful. All
you've done is crucify my player."
Calgary Flames forward
"If you want to ban fighting, things will just get more out of control.
What happened had nothing to do with fighting. That wasn't fighting.
That was a cheap shot."
Edmonton Oilers head coach
"Sometimes you forget the possible severity of the consequences. You
can't allow your skilled players to be subjected to a lot of physical
abuse without handling it internally, and we all do it. (But) there
is no way Todd Bertuzzi was told to go out there and exact that type
Edmonton Oilers forward
"I have never played with a guy that wanted to hurt somebody, but
he did want to protect Markus Naslund. That's what it's about, and
he went too far. It paints a bad picture, no question."
Vancouver Canucks player
"Steve, I just want to apologize for what happened out there. I had
no intention of hurting you and I feel awful for what transpired.
... To the fans of hockey and the fans of Vancouver, to the kids that
watch this game, I'm truly sorry. I don't play the game that way.
I'm not a mean-spirited person. I'm sorry for what happened."