Friday, April 4, 2008

Hush Money?

1) When Brian Burke signed Todd Bertuzzi to a 2 year, 8 million dollar deal last summer many believed that he over paid for the power forward by a considerable amount. After all he was 5 years removed from his last significantly productive season and was coming off an injury plagued 06-07 that saw him play a mere 8 regular season games. He did play 16 playoff games for the Red Wings, scoring 3 goals, 7 points.

2) Yet when time came for the hulking former Isle's 1993 1st round pick to be a UFA, his former, (Now current) GM Brian Burke was willing to pony up 8 million. Many then were scratching their heads at both the length and size of the deal. The Ducks admittedly just lost power winger Dustin Penner to the Oilers, but many foresaw their potential salary cap issues and wondered why Burke would so freely spend on someone who was both risky and likely on the downside.

3) So why are we bringing this all up? Well, to review for those not keeping score:

  • In apparent retaliation for a Moore knee hit on Canucks star Markus Naslund, Bertuzzi stalked Steve Moore from behind and sucker-punching him in the side of the head and driving his body to the ice during a 2004 game. Moore suffered a concussion and three fractured vertebrae in his neck and hasn't played hockey since.

  • Bertuzzi, was suspended by the NHL and charged with assault causing bodily harm in June 2004 after a four-month investigation. He pleaded guilty, received a conditional discharge and was sentenced to probation and community service.

  • Bertuzzi was suspended for the final 13 regular-season games of the 2003-04 season and the Stanley Cup playoffs. His punishment continued throughout the Bettman lockout, which kept Bertuzzi from playing in the World Cup of Hockey two world championships. He also was barred from playing in any European league. The suspension cost Bertuzzi $501,926.39 in salary.

  • The initial law suit was dismissed in 2005. Denver District Judge Shelley Gilman said that Moore's claims would be better handled in Canada because that's where the hit happened and all the defendants are based there.

  • He originally was seeking unspecified damages from the Canucks, former team owner Orca Bay Hockey Limited Partnership, Bertuzzi, coach Marc Crawford, former general manager Brian Burke and former Canucks player Brad May. Most recently the suit only mentioned Bertuzzi, and the Canucks. Omitting Burke, Crawford and May.

4) However recent court documents show that Bertuzzi sought to have Crawford included, saying his NHL contract compelled him take orders from his coach. Bertuzzi hoping that this will help mitigate his guilt as well as spread around the amount that is ultimately settled upon. Moore and his attorneys were happy to oblige as the more on the suit the better chance of success. No word why Crawford wasn't listed from the outset.

5) Omitted interestingly were former Canuck Brad May and former Canucks GM, Brian Burke. Anyone surprised that Burke and May were not asked to be included by Bertuzzi? Brad May also coincidentally popped up on the Ducks for the past 2 seasons, despite adding almost nothing to the team scoring or toughness wise. 4 points and 50 PIM's. (Seems Burke has favourite players, huh?) Now we're making no accusations nor stating we have inside information pertaining to this incident, BUT the facts are very compelling here. We will let you our very intelligent readers decide if some shenanigans were pulled by the very crafty/hockey-connected Brian Burke.


Bubba said...

Interesting take on this. I often wondered how Burke could suddenly be so stupid or sentimental that he would sign a washed up player to such an absurd contract, but I never considered this angle before.

You might be on to something.

DexTer said...

OK, great timing faux. This story the day after my team gets eliminated.
Most Canuck fans hate everyone involved. Moore deserved to get retribution for his hit on naslund. bertuzzi went over the edge and was never the same since. Burke is a pompass asshole.

POOOH said...

Sorry dexter. my team win you team go home. heeeeeheeee
Who is moore?

Shmee said...

hmmm...very interesting. I never put 2 and 2 together there. Looking at it from that perspective, that is one possible reason why Bertuzzi got that inflated contract. And Burke is well known for loving physical play from his players, whether as GM or coach.

Shmee said...

Okay FR, biggest game of the year for the Caps...will we see you at the VC?


1) Sorry didn't get to respond earlier to ya Shmee, but yes made it out to VC to see your caps win a very exciting contest. Nice bobble-head too LOL
2) Will you be attending the next home game, Friday?

Contact the Media