Thursday, December 06, 2007

Ordering "Hits" In The NHL

I will readily admit that I don't follow hockey all that much. However, I'm pretty sure that coaches telling players to take out opponents probably isn't as prevalent as it might have been in years past. One recent incident that might have been influenced by a coach's direction, though is the Todd Bertuzzi attack against Steve Moore. In case you've forgotten about it, and the fact that Moore suffered a broken neck because of it, here's some video for you.

Last night, the CBC reported that Bertuzzi may have been told by his coach, Marc Crawford, that retaliation of some sort needed to be taken against Moore.

A statement of claim filed in court by Moore's lawyer and obtained by CBC alleges that Crawford pointed to Moore's name and number on a board in the Canucks' locker room during the second intermission of that game and said "... (Moore) must pay the price."

In an accompanying document, Moore's lawyer claims Crawford's statement was disclosed by Bertuzzi while under oath, and by Canucks general manager Dave Nonis.

A month earlier, during a Feb. 16 game in Denver, Moore checked Canucks forward Markus Naslund and that led to talk of retribution against him, culminating with the Bertuzzi hit a month later.

Like I said, I don't follow hockey too closely, but are "enforcers" and "goons" still employed by teams just for the sake of retaliation? I imagine that there are probably still some around. Though, it is sad to hear of a coach singling an opponent out in an effort to get one of them to hurt that player. It will be interesting to see what the NHL thinks of this new evidence. I doubt they will do much with it, but I can't imagine that Gary Bettman is pleased to hear it.

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