Thursday, March 11, 2004

Vancouver forward and all-star Todd Bertuzzi was suspended this morning for the remainder of the year, regular and post-season, and possibly into next season (if there is a next season). Anyone reading this blog (all two or three of you) are aware of Bertuzzi's vicious hit on Colorado's Steve Moore: the mother of all sucker punches and smashing of Moore's face into the ice caused Moore's neck to break.

Hockey is a violent sport that is packaged as such. Fighting is a part of the game, as is punishing bodychecking. Heck, the dean of the sport is Don Cherry. Enough said. What Bertuzzi did is outside of the scope of even Cherry's vision of what hockey should be. Tough play does not equate wih cheap shots and the NHL is on the right track in its decision to issue a long suspension. In my view, Bertuzzi should have to wait until Moore takes the ice again then suspend Bertuzzi for additional ten games. If Moore never plays again, neither should Bertuzzi.

Biblical punishment, eye-for-an-eye, for a heinous crime. In my opinion, the NHL should not wait until major injuries occur to institute a get tough policy. Rules infractions that cause inury should have heavy consequences for the offender. Earlier this season Columbus defenseman Rostislav Klesla got grabbed and tossed into the boards - a clear penalty that got the offender two minutes in the box... and Klesla out for more than two weeks. Tie Domi's cheap shot elbow in the playoffs a few years ago also comes to mind. A small suspension serves to reward the brutal act. Hopefully the NHL will take more than just this first step in eliminating the cheap shots. The health of its players and credibility of its image is at stake.

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