01 November, 2005


So I’ve been thinking..

(No Jes, the neighbours didn’t call the fire department.)

I’ve been thinking about this whole Bertuzzi mess and the aftereffect of it. Since my sister is an Avs fan, I feel like I’m somewhat qualified (in a very roundabout, half-assed sort of way) to talk about it.

Or not.

Anyway—people need to just friggin’ let it the hell go already. Do I think that Bertuzzi got off somewhat lightly because of the lockout?  Yes and no. I look at it this way—lost wages or no, he still wasn’t able to play last season because the IIHF (and, by extension, the leagues in their member nations) and all the lower leagues agreed to abide by the NHL’s suspension.

On the other hand, NOBODY was able to play in the NHL last year—so his suspension didn’t amount to a whole lot.

On the gripping hand, there are guys that have done things that some would consider worse—and yet they’re not getting even half the crap that Bertuzzi (and, by extension, the Canucks Nation) is still getting.

People, you gotta let it go.

Does this mean that Steve Moore should be swept under the carpet and forgotten (which, I get the impression, is what Avs management would like to see happen)?  Of course not. Steve Moore should be an object lesson in what happens when you have a sports league that isn’t very proactive, just as Dan Snyder should be an object lesson in what can happen when you drive recklessly and Andrew Long should be an object lesson in what can happen when a player decides that his stick is to be used as a means of retaliation rather than a tool for passing and shooting the puck.

Letting it go does not mean forgetting. It means taking the lesson—hard though it may be—and moving on.

What is the lesson, in this case?  That this whole sad mess, this leviathan of a debacle that has now dragged on for close to two years, could have easily been prevented. The recriminations, the hazing of anyone—fan or player—wearing a particular jersey, the ultimately foolish legal drama….all of it could have been so easily prevented had the NHL simply said “no” and done their level best to nip the whole thing in the bud.

The instant talk of bounties and “payback” surfaced, Colin Campbell could have--should have—stepped in and said, “None of that crap, or the whole team’s going to get fined—from the GM on down, if need be.”

At every single Avs-Canucks game for the rest of the season, the referees could have—should have—been given specific instructions to keep a sharp eye on things, and if need be to tell Tony Granato to simply not put his man on the ice when Bertuzzi (or any Canuck that had talked payback) was out.

Even pointing out that honor was satisfied after Matt Cooke gave Steve Moore a legitimate (in the “five for fighting” sense of the word) beatdown in the first period and that there was no need for any further action on either side would have been better than just letting things play out the way they did.

Just a little foresight would have been so much better than the hindsight that is all too often on display in the NHL offices.

And what, you may ask, of Todd Bertuzzi?  What of his tearful apology and his attempts to contact Steve Moore and apologize personally?

(Lest you get the wrong idea, folks, I am not saying that he is a wronged party in this matter—unless you consider the idea that he wronged himself by allowing his temper to get the better of him.)

I’m ready to forgive him—but he has to show me that he’s sorry by never doing anything even close to that again. Anger management counseling, Zen meditation, whatever—but before I as a fan can forgive the guy for what happened on that February night in Colorado, I need to see some tangible sign that he’s truly remorseful.

And what, in the end, of Steve Moore?  I can hear Avs Nation now—what justice for this man who’s fortunate to even be walking again?

He’s a smart man, and still young—he’s in a position where he can get the best revenge of all:

He can live, and (more importantly) live well.

For STB2, I’m The Acid Queen.