Thursday, December 06, 2007

Crow's marching orders

The proposed amended statement of claim says that “during the second intermission, with the score 6-2 in favour of the Avalanche, an enraged Crawford inside the Canuck dressing room, pointed to Steve Moore's name and number on a board containing the Avalanche roster, and demanded that ‘he [Moore] must pay the price.' These words directing vigilante retaliation to be executed against Steve Moore went well beyond the earlier ‘calling-out' in the media by [then-Canucks GM Brian] Burke and Crawford. Bertuzzi knew exactly what was expected of him by his superiors and the consequences to him if he did not deliver.”
We're going to get dribs and drabs of information coming out of the courtroom in this case over the coming months (and years), a situation that threatens to be more than a little bit of a black cloud over the NHL. It's also fair to say that if this was a high-profile American player, and the act had been committed somewhere like Boston or New York, this business would all be bumped up significantly in the news hierarchy.

And just imagine if this was taking place in a case involving any of the 'big three' professional sports.

As it stands, there were only a few reports out of Phoenix where the Kings were playing last night, and Marc Crawford had little of consequence to say (for obvious reasons). Bertuzzi wouldn't say anything after a strong outing at home against the Sabres.

A lot of well-paid legal minds are going to be getting involved in this fight, and Steve Moore has recently proposed an amended claim that is to include an additional $20-million in damages. Crawford certainly isn't the first (or last) coach to utter an edict like this, but the whole thing does highlight the rather Neanderthal undercurrent to what went on. If Moore had never been seriously, irreparably hurt in this incident, would any of this seen the light of day? Had it, would anyone have batted an eye?

Making a player "pay the price" is all part of hockey's code, something many pundits are saying can only be enforced without the instigator penalty on the books. But the real question, to me, is that if we're relying on players to mete out justice and keep others in line, how then do we react when an eye for an eye goes too far and the price paid is far too high?

"An enraged Crawford" certainly didn't have this outcome in mind, and for that matter neither did Bertuzzi, but here we are, watching the continuation of a code-induced train wreck that makes all involved look despicable.

There are lessons to be learned here.

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At 7:24 a.m., December 06, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jesus James. You know that I love the Globies but that might be the most confusingly written story that I've ever read. I'm a lawyer, I know what all those words mean and I still can't figure out what the hell happened in front of Master Dash.

As best I can tell, the Statement of Claim has been amended to either add Marc Crawford as a defendant (I haven't followed this that closely), to amend the allegations as against him or to amend the allegations as against Bertuzzi. I'm not sure why Shoalts keeps calling it the proposed Amended Statement of Claim, unless Master Dash reserved on that question - from that story, it kind of seems to me that Adair, Bertuzzi's lawyer, just agreed to the changes. I don't see why he wouldn't have - I have a hard time seeing how he could have opposed it with any chance for success.

At 8:29 a.m., December 06, 2007, Blogger FAUX RUMORS said...

1) It wouldn't have mattered if Moore were American or not. Hockey gets very minimal coverage down here as it is.
2) Now if this occurred in a MLB or NFL venue, then yes, it would be a huge story. Right now the NHL is way off the US media radar
3) If any of these allegations are true, can't see how the parties involved (bertuzzi/Crawford/Burke/canucks team) won't be on the hook for some serious damages/cash!

At 9:30 a.m., December 06, 2007, Blogger saskhab said...

If the allegations/reports are true... this is a monumental case that will shift the hockey world's "revenge/code" mindset.

All this for a player that already had a fight with a Canuck player earlier that night... which by the code's supposed logic should've ended this all.

At 9:52 a.m., December 06, 2007, Blogger Unknown said...

I think Moore is going to lose. "pay the price" is a common term to signify that you want to hit that player a lot, and in fact, Pierre McGuire (for one) uses it virtually every game he broadcasts. Could Wade Redden sue the Anaheim Ducks for making him "pay the price" in the Stanley Cup Finals? I sure hope not.

As for other sports, MLB pitchers have intentionally thrown 100 mph fastballs at a hitters head, sometimes causing serious injury. Yet, are their any lawsuits? That is clearly a dangerous, illegal act that is designed to make the hitter "pay the price", yet any lawsuit brought about would be laughed out of a court.

At 10:20 a.m., December 06, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Darrell's first paragraph. If I was representing Crawford and assuming that he didn't tell me beforehand that by "pay the price" he meant "criminally assault", I'd be asking him questions like whether he'd used that expression before, whether he could point to previous situations in which Bertuzzi had forced someone to pay the price and whether those instances had involved criminal actions.

Darrell's second paragraph is, I think, plainly wrong. I doubt such an action would be laughed out of court - there just haven't been a lot of people seriously injured and fastballs to the head don't usually connect. If there was a situation with the back story of this incident and the same or similar injury, I suspect that any action would succeed.

At 10:55 a.m., December 06, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So May set a bounty on Moore.
The Canucks deliberately waited for a game to get out of hand.
Moore already fought in that game, which should have paid his debt per the code.
Despite that, Crawford still says "he must pay" and then Bertuzzi goes out and ends his career.

If this latest allegation is true, the Canucks, and Crawford, are up the creek without a paddle, IMO. All of this points very strongly to an organizational intent to harm Moore. In a civil trial, it could very easily be enough to award the case to Moore, IMO.

At 11:38 a.m., December 06, 2007, Blogger Steve Patterson said...

i still don't think this adds liability to crawford and the canucks. it's more relevant than the may "bounty", which happened weeks before and had several intervening games before anything happened.

still, it depends on what was said. if he pointed at his name and said "he should pay the price", well, that's hardly unique not only to the nhl but to full-contact sports in general. i know i've had it said to me growing up playing minor league hockey several times. since the nature of the attack was so unprecedented, it would be very difficult to prove that crawford intended bertuzzi to injure moore with an act way outside what players reasonably expect to consent to on the ice.

i don't think it will be "laughed out of court," but at the same time, as a law student currently taking sports law, don't think it has much of a chance of holding the canucks liable. moore is being smart by trying to make as many defendants possibly liable as he can and trying to extract as many damages out of the canucks as he can. the main defendant is stlll bertuzzi, and moore will probably get some damages out of him, but i still think that he has very little chance out of getting something out of the canucks.

and as far as the code is concerned, well, this is one of those incidents that has historically happened every few years in hockey that has people calling into question what goes on in hockey. but the code is so entrenched that i think it would take alot more than this to change it. for example, vancouver games against minnesota and chicago recently had players saying that they'd "get" players...while it never happened, its clear its not going away anytime soon.

At 12:51 p.m., December 06, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's alot that can be brought out under oath and this could get uglier still. Keith, your comments are out to lunch. The bounty comment by May was said tongue in cheek after he had been pestered by the local media as to what the Canucks were going to do about the questionable Moore on Naslund hit. May apologized later about that comment. The Canucks deliberately waited for the score to get out of hand before settling the score with Moore? Please. This thing many of you have posted about Moore honouring the code by fighting Matt Cooke is a load of BS as well. He had been challenged by May in previous games and hid behind the officials. I've said this before and will say it again; When you laid a questionable hit on The Great One, you saw either Semenko or MacSorley on your next shift, not Tikkanen. Earlier this season May lined up and answered the bell against Boogard for his cheapshot and suspension on Jonnson the previous season. He didn't cherry pick Veillieux to fight in order to "honour the code" and run from the much bigger, younger Boogard. What's Tony Gutless' role in this? Moore told him they were out to get him and Tony G did squat. Employers can be charged with criminal negligence when they knowingly put their employees in harm's way. You don't think Bertuzzi's lawyer might not attempt to subpoena both Moore and his former coach to testify this under oath or the fact that Gutless was using Moore to run Naslund and Martin St Louis (whom Moore had crosschecked from behind into the boards not long after his hit on Naslund). What about Colin Campbell? Why didn't he suspend Moore, a player from Team Walmart for a questionable hit on Naslund that was similar to the Brooks Orpik hit on Eric Cole and the Scott Hartnell hit on Andrew Alberts, both who were suspended? You can bet if it looks like the whole $20 mil is going to be tied to Bertuzzi's can, his lawyer will asks these questions in any trial.

monsieur parafect

At 1:17 p.m., December 06, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous Canucks fan-boy,

You can argue till the cows come home that he should have been suspended for the elbow smash to Naslund's face (and I would agree) but it's entirely besides the point. He wasn't. Get past it.

On the other hand, as per the stupid "code," Moore was challenged and fought in that fateful game. Is he supposed to keep fighting until he loses or bleeds or dies?

To suggest that Minnesota's management is somehow to blame for Moore injuries, well, nice try. It's a lot more likely that the Canucks brass is vicariously liable for the actions of its employees. A standard, I might add, that Colin Campbell is threatening to apply to the current batch of neanderthals running the Flyers.

Moore's team recently petitioned the court to stop Bertuzzi from transferring title on a property to his wife. He's going down and he knows it.

The only questions remaining are who he's willing to shiv on the way out. This latest story illustrates that he's happy to shift the blame to Crawford.

Given the Big Ape's willingness to point fingers, does it make anybody reconsider Burkie's motivation in signing him to a contract that nobody else in hockey would ever have considered?

At 1:19 p.m., December 06, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Master Dash is pretty cool name for a judge. He sounds like he should be fighting Green Lantern or something.

At 1:30 p.m., December 06, 2007, Blogger FAUX RUMORS said...

1) We wonder if it would help or hinder one particular side to have hockey fans on the jury panel.

At 1:48 p.m., December 06, 2007, Blogger Unknown said...

To "Canuck Fan Boy" anon:

Moore, not Bertuzzi, is pointing the finger at Crawford. Perhaps you would reconsider your position based on the actual facts, and now what you made up in your head.

At 2:22 p.m., December 06, 2007, Blogger Unknown said...

"Will no one rid me of this turbulent forward?"

- Marc Crawford

At 6:11 p.m., December 06, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually Darrel, Bertuzzi and the Canucks organization turned on eachother shortly after Bertuzzi was dealt. No honour amongst thieves, it seems.

Monseur - Whether you like it or not, May did utter those words, and he wasn't the only one to express that sentiment. Being forced to apologize after the fact doesn't change what he said, nor does trying to revise history by arguing it was "tongue-in-cheek" dismiss his comments either.

As for the rest of your post, it was the same tired blather Canuck fans are legendary for. Your organization screwed up badly in this case, and Crawford's demands to have Moore "pay the price" is really only the cherry on top of the icing for Moore. But keep on drinking your kool-aid. If reinventing history helps you sleep at night, so be it.

At 6:42 p.m., December 06, 2007, Blogger Kel said...

The Canucks organization has changed owner, GM, coaches, players (I can count only 8 players that were with the team in 03/04) and even uniform since Bertuzzi left. It's hardly the same team or organization. I heard the marketing people left during the lockout too. In fact, the Anaheim Ducks now resemble the 03/04 Canucks more than another other team, with the same GM, Bertuzzi, and May. The coach in Anaheim used to coach for the minor league affiliate of the Canucks in 03/04 too.

I think Bertuzzi screwed up badly and ruined the Canucks too in the Moore case, but I don't think the coach itself encouraged anything that's not happening every game. I watch a lot of games on TV and I heard "pay the price" so many times that I know what Bertuzzi did to Moore is totally different from what hockey people refer to when they say somebody has to pay the price.

I don't defend Bertuzzi, but it's not hard to see why he still has the support in Vancouver. He is probably stupid, but he shows passion for his teammates, and that's how he got into big trouble. It's hard not to love a player who cares so much about his teammates.

At 8:03 p.m., December 06, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Learn to read. Or Google. Or both.
From today's Toronto Star article:
Documents filed yesterday in Ontario Superior Court by Moore's lawyer quote Bertuzzi saying that between the second and third periods of the game, with Colorado winning 6-2, "Crawford angrily pointed to Steve Moore's name on the Avalanche roster board and told his players that Steve Moore `must pay the price.'"
Your Canucks ginch are cutting off the blood supply to your brain.

At 8:17 p.m., December 06, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I, for one, admire Faux's commitment to the #) format of commenting. Marking your single point with a "1)" is bad ass.

At 8:33 p.m., December 06, 2007, Blogger James Mirtle said...

I personally think it's weird ass, but that might just be me.

At 1:52 p.m., December 07, 2007, Blogger Unknown said...

Just as an FYI, I be a Senators, not a Canucks fan.

At 8:17 p.m., December 08, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

james, i tend to agree that there's no way crawford saying "he must pay the price" meant "Todd, I know you're one of our best players, so I want you to sucker-punch one of their worst and get yourself suspended the rest of the season, that way we can lose to Calgary in the playoffs' first round, completely implode after that and we'll all lose our jobs" (as iain macintyre of the sun humorously suggested). i also tend to agree with whoever said, "When you laid a questionable hit on The Great One, you saw either Semenko or MacSorley on your next shift, not Tikkanen. Earlier this season May lined up and answered the bell against Boogard for his cheapshot and suspension on Jonnson the previous season. He didn't cherry pick Veillieux to fight in order to 'honour the code' and run from the much bigger, younger Boogard."

still, there's a slippery slope here when we say "code." as was written on orland kurtenblog:

Jessep: You want answers?
Tim Danson: I think I'm entitled to them.
Jessep: You want answers?
Danson: I want the truth!
Jessep: You can't handle the truth! Son, we play in a league that has guys who run around. And those guys have to be held accountable. Who's gonna do it? You? You, Mr. Granato?
I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for Moore and you curse Bertuzzi. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: that Moore's injuries, while tragic, probably saved stars from post-concussion syndrome. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves stars from post-concussion syndrome.
You don't want the truth. Because deep down, in places you don't talk about in your Air Canada Centre luxury suite, you want me behind that bench. You need me behind that bench.
We use words like honour, code, loyalty. We use these words as the backbone to a life spent going into corners with our heads down. You use them as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who enjoys NHL hockey from the club seats we provide, then questions the manner in which we provide them. I'd rather you just said thank you and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you stick some gel in your hair and get behind the bench. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you're entitled to!
Danson: Did you order the Steve Moore hit?
Jessep: I did the job I had to do.
Danson: Did you order the Steve Moore hit?
Jessep: You're goddam right I did!!


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