Saturday, December 18, 2004

Bertuzzi banned from Europe

Due to his NHL suspension, Todd Bertuzzi is unable to play for a European team like so many of his fellow players. The International Ice Hockey Federation says that it will respect the NHL suspension even though the two organizations no longer have an agreement to do so:
"The violent nature of Mr. Bertuzzi's action with the severe injuries inflicted to the opposing player, as a result of his deliberate act, were regarded as an extremely serious violation of the rules, putting the sport into disrepute," the federation said in a statement. "Mr. Bertuzzi also faces criminal charges for his action."
I have no problem with this ruling, aside from the fact that in the same article it states that Alex Perezhogin — the perpetrator of an act equally heinous as Bertuzzi's — is currently playing in Russia. The IIHF's argument that they don't have an agreement with the AHL (where Perezhogin was playing) holds no ground with me. Either you respect other professional league's suspensions, or none of them. And while it may be true that the IIHF doesn't have an agreement with the AHL, the league is basically a feeder system for the NHL and should be treated as an extension of it.

Yes, what Bertuzzi did was despicable, but at some point his actions must be forgiven. He's not a very intelligent man, but he is also not the monster he has been made out to be. In related news, Bertuzzi has apparently chosen a plea bargain in his case. Here's hoping that the courts stay out of on-ice actions by not handing down a jail sentence.



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