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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Rewind March 8 2004

I'm sure there will be a lot of discussion again on the Moore-Bertuzzi incident.

To refresh your memory, a blow by blow account of the game leading up to the incident.

On Feb. 16, Colorado Avalanche forward Steve Moore made headlines when he knocked Vancouver Canucks captain Markus Naslund unconscious with an open-ice shoulder hit to the head at the Pepsi Center. No penalty was called and no action taken by the NHL in the days that followed.

After the game, Canucks forward Todd Bertuzzi called the officiating a joke, while teammate Brad May indicated a bounty had been placed on the 25-year-old Moore, a rookie NHLer.

Sixteen days later, the teams skated to a 5-5 tie in Colorado. The lone incident was a fight between the Avs' Peter Worrell and Vancouver's Wade Brookbank. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and executive vice-president Colin Campbell attended the game.

As the teams prepared for a March 8 contest in Vancouver, all that seemed to matter was a battle for first place in the Northwest Division. Here is rundown of events in that game leading up to Bertuzzi's attack on Moore:

First Period
6:33 – Canucks' Brad May and Avalanche's Peter Worrell fight.

6:36 – Vancouver's Matt Cooke fights Colorado's Steve Moore.

6:54 – Milan Hejduk scores to give Colorado 1-0 lead.

10:08 – Vancouver forward Todd Bertuzzi penalized for interference.

15:09 – Colorado's Joe Sakic scores unassisted to make it 3-0.

15:31 – Canucks coach Marc Crawford pulls goaltender Dan Cloutier after Darby Hendrickson increases the Colorado advantage to 4-0.

17:42 – With Colorado up 5-0, Vancouver's Jarkko Ruutu and Avs' Rob Blake serve five minutes each for fighting.

18:03 – Worrell and May fight for the second time.

First Intermission
NHL executive vice-president Colin Campbell and director of officiating Andy van Hellemond placed a phone call to referees Dennis LaRue and Stephen Walkom in the officials' room to discuss the potential for additional fights or other events during the lopsided game.

Second Period
7:24 – May scores to cut Colorado lead to 5-1. Trevor Linden breaks the Canucks' all-time record with his 674th assist, surpassing Stan Smyl.

8:16 – May notches second goal to make it a three-goal game. He than talks his way into a 10-minute misconduct penalty by taunting Colorado goalie David Aebischer.

10:51 – Cooke penalized two minutes for goaltender interference.

12:33 – Avs forward Steve Konowalchuk serves two minutes for high-sticking a Canucks player.

Third Period
1:09 – Paul Kariya extends Colorado lead to 7-2 with an unassisted goal.

2:20 – May sent to penalty box for roughing.

5:19 – Canucks' Wade Brookbank penalized for roughing.

8:41 – With the Avalanche leading 8-2, Bertuzzi attacks Moore, delivering a roundhouse sucker-punch that knocks Moore to the ice. Bertuzzi helps drive Moore face-first into the ice, resulting in a pile-on of players.

Seconds before the attack, Bertuzzi chases Moore from one end of the ice to the other, with the latter turning his back on an apparent challenge from Bertuzzi. He then grabs the back of Moore's jersey as the pair skates toward centre ice.

The crowd at General Motors Place initially reacts with scattered cheers, but the building turns silent as it becomes apparent Moore is seriously injured.

Bertuzzi is given a match penalty for attempt to injure, ending his night. May is assessed five-minute major for fighting Avs' Kurt Sauer, a 10-minute misconduct and game misconduct. Sauer is also handed 10-minute major and game misconduct. Colorado coach Tony Granato yells at Crawford and has to be restrained at the Avs' bench.

After a 10-minute delay, Moore is strapped to a stretcher and taken to a Vancouver hospital.

11:59 – Hejduk completes scoring with a hat-trick goal to make it 9-2 Avalanche.

17:24 – Worrell ejected for spearing Brookbank. He's given two-minute penalty, along with two minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct and a 10-minute misconduct.

17:24 – Brookbank is assessed two-minute penalty for roughing and a 10-minute misconduct.

17:24 – Vancouver fans pelt Worrell with debris as he leaves ice.

20:00 - Fights break out in the crowd after final buzzer.

Seven years have passed since Colorado Avalanche Steve Moore was dealt a career-ending sucker-punch by Todd Bertuzzi that ultimately resulted in three broken vertebrae and a concussion after the hulking Canucks winger fell on top of Moore. The Ontario courts have yet to hear Moore's $20-million lawsuit launched against Bertuzzi and Orca Bay Ltd., the company that then owned the Canucks, Bertuzzi's former team. Bertuzzi, in turn, is countersuing his former coach, Marc Crawford, alleging that he was encouraged to hit. A date for the litigation is expected to be set by a Toronto court next month.

For Moore, the hit on March 8, 2004 meant never playing in the NHL again. For Bertuzzi, it meant a suspension that lasted the rest of the season -including playoffs. Moore, a Harvard graduate, continues to go to rehabilitation and still lives in Thornhill, Ont. Bertuzzi is a forward with the Detroit Red Wings.

I wonder how this will play out now that we have more information on head injuries.

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