Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Bertuzzi, Canucks GM testimony related to Moore lawsuit released
ESPN.com news services
The Ontario Superior Court of Justice released Todd Bertuzzi's and Vancouver Canucks general manager Dave Nonis' discovery statements related to Steve Moore's lawsuit on Tuesday.
According to TSN of Canada, Bertuzzi alleged in his testimony that then-Canucks coach Marc Crawford suggested during the second intermission of Vancouver's March 8, 2004, game against the Colorado Avalanche that Moore needed to "pay the price" for delivering a questionable hit on Markus Naslund that was not penalized during a Feb. 16, 2004, game.
Bertuzzi said in his testimony that he felt bad about Moore's injuries but felt he had no choice but to challenge Moore on the ice.
"There's a difference between sending players out and knowing that once in a while you have a job to do and whether it's your description to do it," Bertuzzi testified when asked how often Crawford would send players out to fight other players.
Bertuzzi's lawyer objected to questions about unwritten "codes" in the NHL.
The Canucks have denied that Crawford called for retaliation against Moore and released a statement in early December refuting those claims in court documents in the multimillion-dollar lawsuit Moore filed against former Vancouver forward Bertuzzi, the Canucks and their parent company, Orca Bay Hockey, in February 2006.
"At no time did the Vancouver Canucks organization or any of its management and employees, including former coach Mr. Crawford, encourage or promote the incident that occurred between Todd Bertuzzi and Steve Moore on March 8, 2004," the Canucks' statement said.
A statement of claim filed in court by Moore's lawyer and obtained by the CBC alleges that Crawford pointed to Moore's name and number on a board in the Canucks' locker room during the second intermission of that game and said "... [Moore] must pay the price."
Bertuzzi grabbed Moore from behind, punched him on the side of his head and then landed on top of him, driving his head into the ice. Moore was removed on a stretcher. He sustained a broken neck and a concussion and has not played hockey since.
"If on Jan. 21, 2008, the court permits these allegations to be advanced by Mr. Moore, these allegations will be defended vigorously by the Canucks," the Canucks' release said.
Bertuzzi served a 17-month suspension. He was also charged with assault causing bodily harm. He pleaded guilty and was given a conditional discharge and one year's probation. Bertuzzi signed a two-year deal with the Anaheim Ducks earlier this year.
Crawford is now coach of the Los Angeles Kings.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.