It appears that the Todd Bertuzzi - Steve Moore fiasco is finally over....I think. If it's not going to court, like it was scheduled to, then an agreement must be reached.
Ten and a half years ago, on February 14, 2004 this happened:
Canucks fans and the team were infuriated over Steve Moore's reckless head hit on Markus Naslund while he was in a vulnerable position. Naslund, up to that point had 35 goals and 84 points in 78 games that season. The West Coast Express line of Naslund - Bertuzzi - Morrison was the best line the Canucks had seen....ever. So when a 4th liner plug like Moore did that of course outrage would ensue, as Naslund suffered a mild concussion from the hit. (He would return to the lineup in time for the playoffs: 9 points in 7 games)
The Canucks, naturally, wanted to kick Moore's ass for that hit, with Brad May even saying there was a bounty on Moore's head. Fair enough. When the teams met again a few weeks later, nothing happened, with Gary Bettman in attendance, likely to be the judge of any madness.
The next time the teams met after that is when all hell broke loose, as the Avalanche were pummeling the Canucks on the scoreboard:
"And the score-settling has gone too far," said Jim Hughson. He was right. Moore had already answered the bell with Matt Cooke over the hit:
Yah, so this is where me and my old school self draw the line ( i have evolved over time). Moore won the fight over Cooke and did so admirably to answer the bell for the hit on Nazzy. Good for him. I'm not so old school anymore that I want Moore's head on a platter, or, he keeps fighting any takers that are defending Naslund until his head gets beat in. At the time, I was wanting someone to kick this rookie's ass for what he did. Matt Cooke didn't get the job done? Somebody else kick Moore's ass! I wish Cooke beat the hell out of him but he didn't. Instead, Moore beat Cooke and we had Bert beating Moore's neck in and in the aftermath we had this drama on March 10, 2004:
There was police intervention for assault, and a 17-month absence from hockey for Bert due to a lock out (20 games as a result).
There was a point in time during this 10-year fiasco that Bertuzzi pointed a finger at then-coach Marc Crawford because Crow wanted vengeance on Moore at all costs and Bert was just obeying orders from is coach. Well, nothing really came of that.
The incident killed a lot of the momentum of the West Coast Express line that was SO GOOD. After 71 points in 82 games (and a -17) the following season it was all downhill for Bert after that, Dave Nonis traded Bertuzzi, Bryan Allen and more to Florida in exchange for Roberto Luongo and Lukas Krajicek. He was also a part of the return package (along with Bryan McCabe) that Mike Keenan got from sending Trevor Linden to the Islanders. McCabe was a pivot piece that allowed Brian Burke to draft the Sedin Brothers consecutively. Yea, Bertuzzi had his prints all over this team once upon a time and even today. But it doesn't stop there.
-Bertuzzi's 15-game point streak in 2002 is still tops in team history (tied with Petr Nedved).
-Bert's 45 goals and 97 points the season prior to the Moore incident is still one of the best performances by a Canuck. He may be the best power forward the team has ever seen.
Oh, the WCE days:
Regardless of the events that transpired that year, I can still respect what Bertuzzi brought (no, not his defence). I am glad the incident has been settled and I hope Bert can move on with his life. One thing that is for sure is that Bertuzzi never recaptured his dominant form after the Moore incident. But I think we can appreciate the hulking power forward's efforts in his time leading up to the incident. He was brilliant. The brilliance sometimes gets lost in it all. Remember when he'd blow by guys and when they tried to hook him he'd use one hand to swat away the opponent's stick while keeping full control of the puck? Remember he was like a freight train? Remember the beauty goals and the sick passes? What a talent, all packed into a giant frame.
Remember the crushing hit by Bert on Barrett Jackman in the playoffs?
The fans sure loved him, and rightfully so:
What a beauty:
Thanks for the memories, Bert!
He now is 39 years old and is an unsigned unrestricted free agent.