Todd Bertuzzi Gets an Undeserved Pass from the NHL

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One of the biggest villains in NHL history just got a free pass from the NHL. Todd Bertuzzi destroyed Chicago Blackhawks forward Ryan Johnson just five minutes into the Red Wings-Blackhawks game Monday night with a vicious elbow to the head.

Johnson required some minor stitching on his ear before returning to play later in the first period and Bertuzzi was given a five minute major penalty and a game misconduct for the hit, but that appears to be where Bertuzzi’s penalties will stop.

And for someone with Bertuzzi’s past, it’s a damn shame.

By Peter Christian

Everyone remembers the malicious and reprehensible sucker punch that Bertuzzi laid on Steve Moore in 2004. That dirty play resulted in Moore getting a broken neck (effectively ending his career) and Bertuzzi being suspended for 20 NHL games (remainder of that season) and prohibited from any international competition during the NHL lockout. Everyone remembers that. Well, except Bertuzzi.

Bertuzzi’s abhorrant lack of respect for his opponents and the game was apparent in 2004 and again on Monday night. Luckily for all parties involved, Johnson wasn’t severely injured and he will be able to continue his hockey career. However, this should have been a wake up call to the NHL. As usual, they slept right through the ringing.

One must only look to the NHL’s policy in dealing with other NHL goons and dirtbags to realize they give the dirty players a super long leash in which to operate with. Other than Bertuzzi, one glaring example is Matt Cooke, who finally got a major suspension after about a half dozen dirty incidents over the past 3 seasons.

(Note: Trevor Gillies appears to be an exception to this rule as he was dealt a nine game suspension for his first significant incident and was then given another ten game suspension for another dirty hit in his first game back from the first suspension)

The problem is multi-faceted. First, NHL Senior VP & Director of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell needs to throw out his current disciplinary policy which according to Campbell takes into account the extent of the injury, the history of the player and the circumstances of the play. My interpretation of that explanation has always been that Campbell simply throws a dart, while blindfolded, at the dartboard and suspends the player according to what space the dart lands in.

If you think I’m joking, let’s look back at Bertuzzi. The man committed one of the most heinous acts in NHL history, is widely thought of as a dirty player around the league (regardless of talent) and just committed a malicious hit to the head that the NHL is supposedly trying to circumvent from happening at all.

Taking all of that into consideration, the league still decided that no disciplinary hearing needed to be held because of Bertuzzi’s recent history, lack of major injury and nature of the play.

Are you effing kidding me?

Five seasons of avoiding the spotlight for dirty play (remember, it takes quite the dirty play for people to remember it, that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been a part of some shady hi-jinx in those five seasons) doesn’t erase the fact that Bertuzzi dished out one of the dirtiest hits on ice ever. It also doesn’t forgive the fact that less than a year after the NHL issued a rule change in regard to hits to the head that Bertuzzi committed one of the most blatant head-hunting shots of the 2010-11 season. Just because Ryan Johnson escaped without a severe concussion, his ear mostly intact and returned to play doesn’t give the league reason to give Bertuzzi some slack.

Bertuzzi used up all of his chances when he was allowed back into the league in 2005. After ending another player’s career with a dirty play, he shouldn’t be allowed to earn any more passes from the NHL disciplinary committee. He should be saddled with the same type of suspension that Gillies or Cooke got.

Because if we’ve learned anything from these type of players, the penalties don’t matter, it’s only a matter of time until they put an opponent at risk of injury with another dirty play.

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Comments

  1. Rich Probert says

    Blah Blah Blah. Just another Bertuzzi hater. I see you forgot to mention the criminal trial and resultant probation and HUGE fine he paid by not being able to play during the lockout where everyone else played who could. And you forgot to mention that Moore was a half assed player who would be long forgotten if not for Bertuzzi. And Moore had pulled just such a vicious head shot hit on Canucks captain Naslund as you are trying to say Bertuzzi did in this articel (it wasn’t). Bertuzzi hit him in retaliation for that Naslund hit. Not saying it was right for Betuzzi to do smack him, but Moore was gonna get taken out by a Canuck that night no matter what. Than you try to imply he has been all evil and goon like from 2004 to the present. Wrong. He is pretrty average in penality mins now isn’t he. Get off the hight horse and find something else to whine about.

  2. Rich Probert says

    Blah Blah Blah. Just another Bertuzzi hater. I see you forgot to mention the criminal trial and resultant probation and HUGE fine he paid by not being able to play during the lockout where everyone else played who could. And you forgot to mention that Moore was a half wit player who would be long forgotten if not for Bertuzzi. And Moore had pulled just such a vicious head shot hit on Canucks captain Naslund as you are trying to say Bertuzzi did in this article (it wasn’t). Bertuzzi hit him in retaliation for that Naslund hit. Not saying it was right for Betuzzi to do smack him, but Moore was gonna get taken out by a Canuck that night no matter what. Than you try to imply he has been all evil and goon like from 2004 to the present. Wrong. He is pretrty average in penality mins now isn’t he. Get off the hight horse and find something else to whine about.

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