NHL crackdown needed after vicious hit: critics
By Mark Weir
It was the punch heard across the country. Monday night’s
National Hockey League game between the Colorado Avalanche
and The Vancouver Canucks involved an incident in which Vancouver
power-forward Todd Bertuzzi inflicted one of the ugliest acts
in NHL history.
In what many are calling a premeditated act of violence, Bertuzzi
grabbed the Avalanche’s 25-year-old rookie Steve Moore
from behind, laid a vicious blow to his head and followed it
by pile-driving him face-first into the ice. Moore lay motionless
in a pool of blood before leaving the ice on a stretcher. The
score was 8-2 in favour of Colorado at the time of the incident.
“Clearly, Bertuzzi intended to sucker-punch Moore,” said
Western associate kinesiology professor Ron Watson. “He
was reckless in what he did.”
Watson, a former Western hockey coach, said he believes the
act was in apparent retaliation for Moore’s earlier hit
on Bertuzzi’s linemate, Vancouver forward Markus Naslund.
Three weeks earlier, Moore was involved in a controversial
incident with the Canucks when his shoulder-to-chin hit on
Naslund knocked the star Canucks player out of the game.
“[The hit] will be a watershed only if there is some
period of a jail sentence of what should be a guilty verdict,” Watson
replied when asked about the sort of impact Bertuzzi’s
hit will have on the NHL. Bertuzzi is not only likely to receive
harsh discipline from the NHL, but he is also being investigated
under the Criminal Code of Canada.
“Payback is where the problem stems from,” said
Kevin Wamsley, director of the International Centre for Olympic
Studies. “The NHL wants [violence in hockey] to go away,
but it needs to deal with the issue.”
Wamsley noted his concern for the generally acceptable level
of violence in the game and the fact that suspensions do not
appear to deter such violence.
Western men’s hockey coach Clarke Singer said he was
shocked when he saw the Bertuzzi incident. “I can’t
believe it, when you look at the actions he took,” he
said. Singer said he sees no benefit of having violence in
the game. “We have a very high quality league [in Ontario
University Athletics], only having one fight in the past 85