In the 7 years since Steve Moore saw his NHL career end at the hands of Todd Bertuzzi , there’s been an unsubtle shift in prevailing notions of hockey goonery and head injuries in particular. That’s bad news for the Vancouver Canucks, writes the Globe & Mail’s Bruce Dowbiggin, who suggests Bertuzzi’s former club and the league would’ve been better off had they settled with Moore in ’04 rather than face a jury next September.
Come with us, friends, to the golden days following Bertuzzi’s mugging of Moore. In that uncomplicated era, we were told that Moore was a weasel who got what he deserved, that the concussion suffered by Moore was a figment of his lawyer’s imagination. (“Who ever gets hurt like that in the NHL?”) The lawsuit was a dodge by a marginal player who wasn’t going to make it in the NHL to collect a fat paycheque. The sentiment was summed up by this 2004 blogpost on hockeyforum.com: “Steve Moore is a gutless, unapologetic, headhunting puke who got what he deserved. Karma is good.”
Bertuzzi? He was unfairly crucified by hockey Luddites. At least that’s what we heard from Brian Burke, the truculent general manager of the Canucks at the time Bertuzzi did his Unforgiven number. (“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,” Burke told the media at the time.) Ah, the good old days for the Don Cherry Brigade.
Had Moore tried to assemble a sympathetic jury in 2004 he’d have been stymied by a hockey culture sold by many mainstream media about the events of March 8, 2004. Sadly for Bertuzzi and the Canucks, whose present ownership was handed the poison chalice of this case by a previous regime, the citizenry of Ontario has been brought up to speed by the media on what can happen when a 230-pound man punches you in the head and then falls with all his weight on your unconscious body.