Seven years ago, the Colorado Avalanche worked their way into Vancouver to try and break out of a recent scoring slump. A couple of weeks before, Avalanche forward Steve Moore had injured then Vancouver captain Markus Naslund. Coach Marc Crawford had an incredibly emotional response saying that he "can't understand why those referees don't have more respect for the NHL's leading scorer." I will address this later.
Talk ran rampant, over the next couple of weeks, that a bounty was out on Steve Moore's head for the next time he came to Vancouver, which happened a couple of weeks later.
After a game that got out of hand from the score standpoint very early, the worst was yet to come. With about 11 minutes left in the game, Todd Bertuzzi delivered a blind side cheap shot that instantly knocked Moore unconscious. If that wasn't bad enough, Bertuzzi then used all of his weight to shove Moore's head straight into the ice and continued to throw punches.
The aftermath for Bertuzzi? He was suspended for the rest of that season, which ended up being 17 games, and was re-instated at the start of the next season, which was the one following the 2004-2005 lockout. Commissioner Gary Bettman believes, even though the rest of the players didn't play that season either, that this was sufficient punishment. Most disagree.
The aftermath for Moore? Seven years later, Steve Moore still is suffering from post-concussion syndrome and has absolutely no hope of reclaiming his career. He is also still waiting on a court date to even get set for an assault charge that he has filed against Bertuzzi in a British Columbia court, though there is some small movement on this.
Regardless of the outcome of this case, justice will not be served. Coach Crawford said that there needed to be more respect for leading scorers in the league. He seems perfectly content with the fact that Steve Moore's career was taken away, and his whole life has been fundamentally changed. Where is the respect for that? Anybody involved in the game of hockey will tell you that there should be just as much respect for the safety and well being of the seventh defenseman on the roster of the worst team in the league as for the leading scorer in the NHL.
There are some who will try and justify Bertuzzi's actions. I will simply allow the severity of what has happened to Moore speak for itself. It would seem obvious that actions intentionally taken that end a man's career and make it so he can't think without getting a headache is definitely excessive. We are all still hoping for the final chapter on this story to be written. Hopefully, it will happen soon and Steve Moore can finally have at least some bit of justice.
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