Friday, April 28, 2006

Weinrich on Bertuzzi

Veteran NHL defenceman Eric Weinrich lives in Yarmouth, Maine, during the NHL offseason, and this year he has a regular column appearing in the local paper, the Morning Sentinal. His piece from earlier this week offers some excellent, honest insight into his teammate for the tail end of the season, Todd Bertuzzi:

Todd has served his suspension, but his sentence will never end. No matter where he plays, people call him a criminal. I witnessed it every game, and I feel it is time to let it go. I have expressed my feeling about the issue and I don't agree with his actions, but the same sort of thing has happened many times before. The game was just fortunate that no one was injured any worse. ...

I hope he gets a chance to get out of Canada and go to a city where he can leave the game at the rink and enjoy every day without the abuse.
Weinrich is really one of the class acts in the NHL, and it's definitely interesting getting his perspecting on Bertuzzi, among other things. It'd be great to see more players taking up things like this.

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4 Comments:

At 10:47 PM, April 28, 2006, Blogger The Universal Cynic said...

Very interesting. I wrote a similar piece last July that was inspired by the camaraderie at the Olympic orientation camp between Bertuzzi, Joe Sakic and Adam Foote. I won't link to it, but if you Google my proper name and "Todd Bertuzzi", you can unearth it with ease. This was the quote from Sakic at the time:

Sakic told the Canadian Press on Monday, "Todd has served his suspension and it was a lengthy suspension ... he served that and you have to move on."

This one column produced some of the ugliest hate mail I have received since I began writing for the Sun two years ago. Maybe it was too early for the suggestion to turn the page. But when high-profile players are readily embracing Bertuzzi as a teammate, it's difficult to ignore.

I'd love to see what the reaction is to Weinrich's piece. Based on the feedback I received, there will always be a lot of people (both in Canada and the U.S.) who adamantly refuse to forgive Todd Bertuzzi and move on.

 
At 9:28 AM, April 29, 2006, Anonymous Baroque said...

Good comments. For Bertuzzi's own sake, I hope he does find someplace to play that is lower key so he can try and put this scarlet letter behind him. I think what he did was horrible, but it isn't his fault that the punishment wasn't more severe. It was not for him to determine--all he could do was serve the punishment given to him and keep a clean record after that, which he has done. Knowing how it turned out, I'm sure he would do something different if he had it to do over, but that is impossible.

A thought I had shortly after it happened: a friend was talking about how he had heard that when he was younger, Bertuzzi would take a lot of cheap shots, etc. when he was playing. He wondered why no one had ever set him straight earlier in his hockey career. If that is true (I don't know), then the answer is easy--he got away with it because he was talented, the same way that football and basketball stars in the US get away with anything they want from the time it is clear that they can play a game better than anyone else, and all the people who ever said about a high school quarterback, "sure, he may not have done that well in class, or was drinking and smashed a car, but he didn't hurt anyone, and can't we bend the rules just this once? There is a big game this weekend, and you don't want to penalize the entire team, do you?" is partially at fault. Why should any athlete (or politician, or rich kid, or businessman) think he will ever have to live by the same rules as everyone else when they have never been held to those same standards before in their lives?

Sorry for the wandering ramble--one of the many pet peeves in my kennel. :) I hope Bertuzzi can find someplace to get his life back to some level of normal.

 
At 7:04 PM, April 29, 2006, Anonymous snafu said...

I'm starting to feel that it is hockey fans especially who can't seem to forgive. You have allegations of rape, drug use, assault on fans, manslaughter, or even attempted homicide... in a number of pro sports, yet Todd is the one dogged by this every single day?

This is not a defense of what Todd did, but when put in perspective against the 'crimes' of all pro athletes, his is not the worst.

I just don't get it.

 
At 12:20 AM, April 30, 2006, Anonymous Karina said...

I know the thing that bothers me most about Bertuzzi is his attitude. And I don't even think it's his attitude, I just think it's his personality. It really comes off as him shrugging it off - how many times have we heard him say "I can't do anything about it now"? It's true, but it just comes across being somewhat less than repentant to me.

I don't know. One thing I think about Bertuzzi is that he doesn't respond well to public pressure, and the incredible pressure put on him here in Vancouver is hard for him. He just wants to play hockey. To me, he seems like a simple guy who's not sure how to deal with the media, and so tries to avoid it. It just comes off to me as a sort of indignance, or almost arrogance, although having seen more and more of it, I don't think that's the case.

The best thing is for him to get to another city. A smaller market. While I think that Bobby Clarke is one GM who will heavily persue him, I'd think that somewhere like Atlanta or Phoenix would be a better market for him.

In the end, what's made it hard for me to forgive him is that he doesn't act how I would like him to. I think he should be extremely thankful for still being able to play in the NHL, and playing his heart out to prove that the faith the people here have shown in him is worth it, but I just don't think it's his personality. So I've changed my frame of mind about it, and just hope he finds his way in the future. Having that much talent go to waste is not good for hockey.

 

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