Bertuzzi case against Marc Crawford reinstated

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bertuzzi3.jpgIt’s the black-cloud story of the NHL that just won’t ever seem to go away in one form or another. 2004 saw one of the ugliest on-ice incidents in the league’s history when then Vancouver Canuck forward Todd Bertuzzi sucker-punched Colorado Avalanche forward Steve Moore. After numerous court cases involving Moore, Bertuzzi, then Canucks head coach Marc Crawford and then Canucks general manager Brian Burke, it appears one piece of litigation is back in play according to David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail, and the participants may surprise you.

Lawyers for Todd Bertuzzi turned a miscue into an advantage when they managed to reinstate his third-party lawsuit against his former coach, Marc Crawford.

The lawsuit was dismissed in March when Bertuzzi’s lawyers missed a deadline to file paperwork with the Ontario Superior Court that would have set the case for trial.

That’s right, Bertuzzi is suing his former coach because he felt he wasn’t the only guilty party involved in the incident with Moore. What’s even more fun about this entire thing is that it’s seemingly being done to semi-clear Bertuzzi’s name as the sole conspirator in the whole mess.

While the damages in question are expensive, even for millionaire hockey players, there is little chance Bertuzzi or Crawford will have to pay with their own money. Since their actions occurred as employees of the Canucks, the Canucks’ insurance company will be on the hook if the court rules against them.

If anything Bertuzzi doesn’t want to take the blame for this on his own and who can blame him for that? What happened that night is something Bertuzzi still hasn’t lived down and rightfully so. It was a disgusting act of violence that has no place in sports, never mind in real life. That said, while Bertuzzi did apologize for what happened so long ago it speaks a bit to a man’s character when even now, six years later, he’s still looking for others to join him on a sunken ship of bad decisions.

Passing the buck for blame doesn’t reflect well on anyone that tries to do it. Just look at the mess in baseball with those who get busted for steroids and start pointing fingers elsewhere other than at themselves for doing what they did. While Bertuzzi won’t address the Moore incident anymore, continuing with this court battle against Marc Crawford just keeps digging up a story that no one wants to have to remember but everyone can never forget.

UPDATE (6/16):

David Shoalts decided to clear up a matter that was a big part of the discussion in a piece today in the Globe and Mail.

A story in The Globe and Mail on Wednesday said any awards against both
Bertuzzi and Crawford were covered by the Canucks’ insurance policy.
However, due to an exception in the policy only Crawford is covered.

And that coverage, according to a source with knowledge of the policy,
only goes up to $10-million (U.S.) with another $1-million for legal
fees. He is responsible for anything above that, as are the Vancouver
Canucks, also named in the suit.

That makes a bit of a big difference in Bertuzzi’s situation, and it also helps explain why he maybe wanted a bit more money from the Red Wings in the new two-year deal he signed with the team today.

Couture in ‘uncomfortable state’ after two facial fractures

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SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) San Jose Sharks center Logan Couture played in the postseason despite two fractures in his face along with the plastic and wiring in his mouth that kept his teeth in place.

Couture revealed more details of the injuries sustained when a deflected slap shot from teammate Brent Burns hit him in the mouth in Nashville on March 25.

He said he had one fracture that went from his upper lip to the nose area that is still very sore and will take about six weeks to completely heal. The other fracture is below his bottom row of teeth.

“They’re not fun,” he said Tuesday. “It’s not extreme pain right now. Obviously it’s bearable to get by on a day-to-day basis. It’s still a struggle to eat and sleep and some of that stuff. It’s not comfortable. It’s an uncomfortable state to be in.”

Couture said he will meet with his dentist soon to figure out the next steps in recovery. He will need implants to get the teeth fixed and hopes to get that work done in the next few weeks so he can return home to Canada after that.

Couture said he is still “crushed” by San Jose’s first-round playoff loss in six games to the Edmonton Oilers and will need a few more days to get his mind right.

After San Jose made a run all the way to the Stanley Cup Final a year ago, Couture said it was frustrating to enter the postseason with the team so banged up this year.

“You sit there and think, `Why is this happening to us?”‘ he said. “It’s the game of hockey and injuries happen. Teams that win, they battle through the adversity and the injuries and other guys step up and play big roles. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to do that as a team.”

Couture scored two goals in a Game 4 win but did not play up to his usual standards. The Sharks were also hurt by a serious injury to top-line center Joe Thornton, who tore the ACL and MCL in his left knee on April 2 and was back playing in Game 3 two weeks later.

Thornton had two assists in the final four games of the series before undergoing surgery to repair the knee on Monday.

“He’s incredible,” Couture said. “I don’t know if he feels pain because it can’t be fun. The fact that he skated three days after it happened was shocking. I don’t think anyone expected that in our room. It shows how badly he wants to win that he was able to get back out there. The steps that he was going through to play was pretty remarkable. Everyone in our dressing room respects the heck out of that guy. He really wants to win.”

Among other injured players for San Jose were forward Patrick Marleau (broken left thumb), forward Tomas Hertl (broken foot), and forward Joonas Donskoi (separated shoulder).

You can see a picture of Couture’s damaged mouth here, but a warning — it’s pretty gross.

Bergeron may need surgery for sports hernia

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Patrice Bergeron says he may need offseason surgery to repair a sports hernia that he dealt with all year.

Bergeron missed the Bruins’ first three games of the 82-game schedule with a lower-body injury; however, he managed to play the next 79, plus six more in the playoffs as Boston fell to Ottawa in the first round.

Typically, a sports hernia is first treated with rest and physical therapy. Then, if that doesn’t solve the problem, surgery may be required.

It was a frustrating start to the season for the 31-year-old center. Bergeron had just 24 points in 49 games before the All-Star break, but he finished with a respectable 53 points in 79 games, including 21 goals.

Bergeron could win his fourth Selke Trophy in June. He’s a finalist for the award, along with Ryan Kesler and Mikko Koivu.

In other Bruins injury news, Brandon Carlo had a concussion and Torey Krug an MCL injury. Neither d-man was able to suit up for the B’s in the postseason, though Krug was close to returning.

Defenseman Adam McQuaid, hurt in Game 2 against the Sens, had a neck injury.

No Patrick Kane for U.S. at Worlds

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Tough day for USA Hockey.

After learning that prized Toronto rookie Auston Matthews was skipping the World Hockey Championships, the organization was informed Chicago star Patrick Kane would also be passing on the event.

Kane hasn’t often been able to participate in the Worlds, given he and the Blackhawks have advanced past the first playoff round in five of the last nine years. In fact, the last time Kane played at the Worlds was in 2008, when Chicago missed the playoffs entirely.

(Kane had 10 points in seven games for the Americans that year, en route to a sixth-place finish.)

Matthews cited fatigue as one of the main reasons he passed on this year’s tourney, and it’s safe to assume Kane did the same. He appeared in all 82 games for the ‘Hawks this year, four more in the playoffs, and also represented the U.S. at the World Cup of Hockey.

USA Hockey did manage to secure the services of two important players last week, however. Both Calgary sniper Johnny Gaudreau and Buffalo sophomore Jack Eichel agreed to come aboard.

Gaborik has procedure for ‘chronic’ knee issue, questionable for camp

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Yesterday, new Kings GM Rob Blake told reporters the club wouldn’t be buying out Marian Gaborik’s contract, because the veteran winger had undergone a medical procedure.

Today, the club shed more light on the situation.

L.A. announced that Gaborik recently underwent an “in-depth medical procedure for a chronic issue related to his left knee,” adding the 35-year-old would be questionable for the start of training camp.

Gaborik’s had left knee problems dating back to 2013, when he was a member of the Columbus Blue Jackets. He missed nearly 20 games during the ’13-14 campaign, then had more knee troubles at the tail end of ’15-16 (with the Kings).

Since injured players can’t be bought out of their contracts, Gaborik could very well open the year on LTIR, providing the Kings with some much-needed cap space.

And though Blake said next season would “be a clean slate for Marian to come in and prove himself,” there has to be some question if he’ll return.

Gaborik struggled through this season, scoring just 10 goals in 56 games while missing extensive time with a foot injury suffered at the World Cup. Health issues have dogged him throughout his 17-year career, and he’s only dressed in 110 of 164 games over the last two seasons.

Because of this, his contract has become an albatross. Signed by ex-GM Dean Lombardi, Gaborik’s seven-year, $34.125 million deal still has four years remaining, at a $4.875M cap hit. Gaborik would be 39 by the time the deal expires on July 1, 2021.

In other L.A. injury news, three players also underwent medical procedures recently. Tyler Toffoli and Derek Forbort had knee surgery, while Alec Martinez had “a minor medical procedure for a chronic issue related to his groin.” All three are expected to be ready for camp, however.