No jail time for Bertuzzi
The big story du jour is that Todd Bertuzzi has taken a plea bargain in his case. As a result, he will plead guilty to the charge and will serve community service (and likely anger management classes) as his debt.
As someone who has followed the Canucks and Todd's career very closely, I am satisfied with this resolution, although I guarantee many won't be. There have been people calling for an outright ban from the NHL, jail time, a longer suspension, etc. One common rant is for Bertuzzi to sit out as long as Steve Moore is unable to play hockey.
I wonder, however, if Bertuzzi's act warrants the harshest punishment ever meted out by the league. Since the mainstream U.S. media jumped onto this case and began running the video over and over, Bertuzzi has unfortunately become the poster boy for the supposedly 'violent' NHL. Granted, what he did was off-the-chart stupid, but this is not the first ugly incident the league has seen, and I see little reason why an example must be made of Bertuzzi when that wasn't the case in the past.
Does anyone recall the suckerpunch Matt Johnson dealt to Jeff Beukeboom in 1998? Where were the nightly highlights of that? The police? The fanboys calling for Johnson's head? I guarantee that well over 90 per cent of my readership doesn't even know the incident. Johnson, a known goon and repeated offender, was suspended for 12 games. Beukeboom? His career was over at age 33.
People need to stop acting like there isn't a precedent for what Bertuzzi did. If the response needs to be harsher (Bertuzzi has already been suspended for much longer than Johnson was), let's at least acknowledge the faultiness of suspensions in the past. In my opinion, the only reason people are jumping on Bertuzzi is his status as a superstar who has made few friends as a result of the abrasive way he plays. It's unfortunate such things account for his treatment.
Keep in mind that there will be a pending civil case against Bertuzzi. If, indeed Moore is unable to play hockey again, expect a large compensation amount to be given. In my mind, being dragged through the court system (again) will be punishment enough for Bertuzzi.
UPDATE Well, Bertuzzi changed his plea to guilty today in court. The most interesting part of the Canadian Press story in the link is that for the first time we get a run through of what symptoms Steve Moore has.
Loeppky said the spinal damage is no longer a factor and the soft-tissue damage continues to improve, but Moore still suffers from post-concussion syndromeLooks like a fairly strong case for a civil trial, if you ask me.
Doctors reports show that Moore continues to have reduced sensation in his right shoulder, problems with short-term memory, reduced energy levels, mood variability and dull headaches.His physical activity is still minimal and consists mostly of light workouts