Saturday, December 08, 2007

Canucks offer their take on the Crawford connection

It’s been a pretty interesting couple of days for the current version of the Vancouver Canucks, as they read the papers and watch the television reports of an incident from a few seasons ago that still haunts GM Place to this day.

Earlier in the week, the CBC presented a news report that suggested that then head coach Marc Crawford had effectively ordered a hit on then Colorado Avalanche Steve Moore, the final result of which was the now infamous Todd Bertuzzi assault of March 2004.

The CBC report quoted information gleaned from an Ontario hearing into the case, which suggested that a bulletin board in the Vancouver dressing room had Moore’s name and number scrawled upon it, while Crawford in a speech in the dressing had said words to the effect that “He must pay the price”.

What’s left to be divined from those words is just what does “pay the price” mean, did it indeed solicit the eventual violent altercation and whether it really has any bearing on the still ongoing legal dispute between Moore and Bertuzzi. That is a process which has now gone from court room drama to public relations battle, as it seems that the advocates for the Moore side are prepared to turn up the heat in order to effect a suitable settlement.

Since the CBC report came out at mid week, the Vancouver media have been exploring every aspect of the Crawford connection, from the Canucks perspective to Crawford’s own comments limited as they were. A complete revisit to the state of the Canucks in that star crossed year has also been made in relation to the Moore-Bertuzzi connection, with one scribe suggesting surprise that by that time Bertuzzi would even be inclined to listen to anything that his coach might have to say, such was the state of enmity between the forward and his coach by that time.

For their part the Canucks have been quick to circle their wagons (not to mention cover their, er, backs), with declarations that to their knowledge no such order ever came out of the Canuck dressing room.

Whether the topic came up for discussion or not, a quick and fair settlement for Moore is probably in the best interests of the main participants in all of this. It would be much more interesting for hockey fans to learn more about the inner workings of an NHL team and the much discussed, but seldom explained code that they seem to operate on. But somehow, judging by the latest developments out of the Canucks headquarters we don’t think that is about to happen.

If part of the plan by the Moore legal advisors was to put more pressure on Bertuzzi, the Canucks and the NHL, then we suspect they have made their billable hours on that part of the process.

What remains to be seen is if the NHL decides to put some pressure of its own on the two other participants in the process to settle this situation sooner than later.

Vancouver Province--'Things just happen'
The Waterloo Record--Steve Moore's legal shot
Montreal Gazette--No excuses for Bertuzzi

No comments: