A Decade to Dwell: The Steve Moore – Tood Bertuzzi Incident

Avalanche fan shares his thoughts (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Todd Bertuzzi Sucker Punch on Steve Moore (courtesy: http://jon8332.typepad.com/force_for_good/sports/)

Todd Bertuzzi Sucker Punch on Steve Moore (courtesy: http://jon8332.typepad.com/force_for_good/sports/)

I have been a hockey fan for the better part of 20 years.  I got hooked on the game playing NHPA: 93 on my Sega Genesis.  I still play the game from time to time because it’s still a blast to play.  When I caught the hockey bug, it was during the 1993 Stanley Cup Finals, the Los Angeles Kings led by Wayne Gretzky against Montreal Canadiens, led by goalied Patrick Roy.  I fell in love with the sport and Roy became my favorite player.  I harassed local sports stores to get me a Roy jersey but they wouldn’t “get one until he spells his name right.”  Patrick ends up getting traded to Colorado  a few years later and starts the best rivalry of the past 20 years in sports with the Avalanche and Red Wings.  Roy would walk away from the game and it would end the rivalry.  There were a ton of hard hits, cheap shots, and bad blood between the two squads.  Claude Lemieux’s hit on Kris Draper was the worst of them.  But, that was nothing compared to what I saw when Todd Bertuzzi sucker punched Steve Moore and then rode him into the ice, breaking his neck.  Here is a link the video.  And here is a fairly concise account of the whole ordeal here.  It has been over a decade since the incident and Steve Moore never played another game.  He filed a lawsuit against Bertuzzi, violating a code in the NHL and nobody wanted him on the team.  An excellent article written far more eloquently by Terry Frei documents the entire incident, the fall out, and why the Avalanche fans and press will never forget what happened.

Trainers tend to Steve Moore Colorado Avalanche forward Steve Moore is attended to by the team trainer after being injured in a fight with Vancouver Canucks Todd Bertuzzi during the third period of NHL action in Vancouver, B.C. on March 8, 2004. // Todd Bertuzzi on Steve Moore (CP PHOTO/Chuck Stoody)

Steve Moore tended to by the Avalanche Trainer (CP PHOTO/Chuck Stoody)

I distinctly remember watching the game, and watching this happen.  I didn’t know if Steve Moore would not only play again, heck I thought he could never walk again, maybe worse.  It was totally premeditated and gutless.  If Moore never played again, then neither should Bertuzzi.  As Mike Chambers of the Denver Post tweeted (via CapGeek.com), Bertuzzi would go on to make $47, 187,826 in 19 years in the NHL (9 after the incident and a one year ban) while Steve Moore made a modest $425,000.  Salt in the wound for the Avalanche fans, Bertuzzi would finish his career for the hated Detroit Red Wings.

Steve Moore would spend more than decade waiting for the trial to start.   He would seek $68 million in the lawsuit.  They reached and agreement out of court but the details of it have not been made public.  The Denver Post has a brief article up now, but venture that a longer piece will be forthcoming.  Considering that Bertuzzi, though a giant pile of feces, was a legitimately talented player.  Moore would have been a journeyman player, probably maxing out maybe around $1 million a year.  Third or Forth line centers just do not make that much in the NHL.  But they still make an excellent living and could have accumulated millions of dollars in a career.

However, the Steve Moore camp has come out recently and said no settlement is close.

Todd Bertuzzi in his Red Wings glory (Jerome Davis/Icon SMI)

Todd Bertuzzi in his Red Wings glory (Jerome Davis/Icon SMI)

Todd Bertuzzi is looking for another job in the NHL.  How convenient.  Guy looking to eek out every last dollar of the NHL.  A guy that should never have played another minute in the NHL.  Ruined a guys career.  Steve Moore may have broken one of the “codes” in the NHL but he has a life to live.  He’s been stuck in a holding pattern for over a decade.   What were you doing 10 years ago?

Terry Frei, took the words out of my mouth, once again, much more eloquently here.  Give Moore a night in Colorado.  Todd Bertuzzi is still hated in Colorado.  Always will be.  The Avalanche more or less turned their back on Steve Moore.  He deserves closure not only financially but in front of the fans that cheered for him and still empathize with him.  Sakic and Roy are in charge of the New Era of the Avalanche.  They were part of the last era to have success and Moore was part of that.  The fans want to move forward, and this would be the best way to do it.  It was as ugly as ugly will ever get in hockey.  A decade to dwell on it.  This chapter needs to be closed.

Steve Moore carted off the ice(CP PHOTO/Chuck Stoody)

Steve Moore carted off the ice(CP PHOTO/Chuck Stoody)

Avalanche fan shares his thoughts (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Avalanche fan shares his thoughts (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)