Three weeks after he lay on the ice at GM Place, his vertebrae fractured, and his head concussed, Steve Moore has made his first comments on the infamous Todd Bertuzzi incident.
In a Denver press conference, Moore wearing a large neck brace faced the media, updating one and all on his status, answering some questions and declining opinions on others. In a rather tightly controlled affair, Moore seemed tentative to offer any opinion of the night, sidestepping any reference to Bertuzzi what so ever. He likewise offered no information as to whether he would file a civil suit if his recovery plans did not work out and his career was over. Avalanche officials would occasionally jump into the proceedings to steer the conversation back on the points they felt needed to be addressed, his injuries and the rehabilitation that he faces.
When asked if he had heard about Bertuzzi’s emotional apology, he said he had not heard it. Had he been in contact with Bertuzzi at all? His answer an evasive no, claiming he had many friends and family he had to contact and that was his priority at the moment. He disclosed that he has no real recollection of events roughly fifteen minutes before the incident and twenty minutes after it, suffering a form of amnesia surrounding the hit. When asked if he expected to play again, he said he didn't know at this time.
If the press was waiting for a “forgiveness” quote they went home unhappy. Then again he did not launch an attack on Bertuzzi for his wanton disregard for the health of a fellow player. Moore played the position straight down the middle. Perhaps with a possible eye to litigation later on, he was advised to keep his remarks generic and focused on his injuries and the recovery phase. To that point he thanked the Hospital staffs both in Vancouver and Denver, thanked the fans world wide for their kind wishes and said he hoped that he would reach a full recovery.
His opening remarks along the line of just being glad to be out of hospital and able to walk, basically set the tone for the roughly 25 minute press conference. Covered in force by all three Canadian Sports network and in Vancouver on CKNW (check out the audio vault at 3:25 for a replay of it) it ended as quietly as it began, Moore simply standing up and saying thanks and walking out the door.
With the conference over, the columnists have begun to file their reviews. Alan Maki in the Globe and Mail the first out of the gate as he bemoans an opportunity lost, the press conference indicative of what the NHL has become, a tightly controlled, legally focused corporation.
As Moore continues his rehab, there is still one final shoe to drop in the current situation. Vancouver Police have yet to announce their findings in the incident, still investigating the on ice event for possible criminal intent. Should they decide to hand the case off to the Crown for prosecution, the next press conference may give the media more interesting clips, sending the story off in a whole new direction.
For now the focus is on Moore and his recovery, the Vancouver Canucks issuing a brief press release expressing relief that Mr. Moore is on his way to recovery, wishing him well with his rehabilitation. They also added that due to the time of the season, the hockey club will not be commenting any further on the incident until after the playoffs. Something that they may wish will happen, but one suspects that they won’t be able to avoid the issue. There will be more news announced shortly and answers to be provided, before the Canucks play their last game of the season.