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.

The Buzzer: Night of the goalies

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Players of the Night:

Andrei Vasilevskiy, Tampa Bay Lightning: The Lightning needed Vasilevskiy to play like the NHL All-Star that he is and that’s exactly what he gave them, stopping 40 shots to help the Lightning to a 2-0 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. The win was important for Tampa, who regained the top spot in the NHL standings and ended a three-game slide in the process. Vasilevskiy’s league-leading seventh shutout of the season ties a franchise record.

Petr Mrazek, Detroit Red Wings: Mrazek fielded 37 shots from the New Jersey Devils on Monday night and handled each and every one of them for his second shutout in as many starts.

Nick Cousins, Arizona Coyotes: Cousins got the ball rolling for the Desert Dogs in the first period, giving them a 1-0 lead. After the Islanders tied the game in the third, Cousins put the final stamp on the game with a goal 2:21 into overtime to give Arizona their second straight win.

Comeback of the Night:

Jason Zucker, Minnesota Wild: Zucker got drilled in the head with a slap shot in the first period and had to be helped off the ice. Miraculously, Zucker returned a short time later and went on to score the game-winning goal at the 4:59 mark of the third period, breaking a 1-1 tie in the Wild’s 3-1 win against the Ottawa Senators.

Highlights of the Night:

Granlund and Dumba:

Mrazek made plenty of saves on Monday and perhaps none better than this one (Brian Boyle‘s reaction is priceless):

Ottawa Senators fans will like this, even if the end result wasn’t great:

Auston Matthews had the celebration of the night:

Factoids of the Night:

Scores:

Avalanche 4, Maple Leafs 2

Red Wings 3, Devils 0

Wild 3, Senators 1

Lightning 2, Blackhawks 0

Sabres 2, Flames 1 (OT)

Coyotes 3, Islanders 2 (OT)


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

Lightning end three-game skid with 2-0 win over Blackhawks

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Jon Cooper called declared that his team was “out of sync” prior to Monday night’s game in Chicago.

It’s three words that haven’t been used at all this season to describe the Tampa Bay Lightning who, up until Sunday, was known as the best team in the NHL.

The Lightning came into Monday night nursing a three-game losing streak, another foreign concept for a team saw four of its players elected to the NHL’s All-Star Game this coming weekend.

But just as quickly as they dropped out of the top spot in the NHL — the Vegas Golden Knights assumed that throne for 24 hours after a win on Sunday night — the Lightning snatched it back in a 2-0 triumph over the Chicago Blackhawks in the Windy City on Monday.

For a team that perhaps forgot how to play with one another, they looked comfortable in each other’s company against the Blackhawks.

The game was tight for the most part, and it took the Blackhawks being caught napping shorthanded to break a 0-0 deadlock late in the second period as Chris Kunitz took advantage of a defensive mishap. 

Jake Dotchin’s wrister sailed wide, but Kunitz was allowed to waltz behind the net, pick up the loose puck and put it behind Jeff Glass, nearly untouched through the whole process.

The NHL’s top goalie once again lived up to the distinction as Andrei Vasilevskiy turned aside all 40 shots that came his way.

The Blackhawks put up 10 or more shots in each of the game’s three periods, including 17 in the second frame. But the All-Star netminder played and exceptional game, including stopping 10 out of 10 on the power play to keep Chicago 0-for-6 on the power play.

Yanni Gourde sealed the game late in the third with a blast to make it 2-0.

It’s a win Tampa needed, especially after finding out they’ll miss forward Ondrej Palat indefinitely.

The struggles continued for the Blackhawks, meanwhile.

Chicago has now been shutout twice in their past three games and is on a three-game skid with a 4-5-1 record in their past 10.

The Lightning could afford their losing streak. They’ve earned an opportunity to slide a little bit.

For the Blackhawks, another loss means another chance missed trying to survive in a deeply competitive Central Division.

The Blackhawks are hanging by a thread and time is running out quickly.


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

The Colorado Avalanche’s win streak hits double digits

Associated Press
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The streak is now in double digits.

The Colorado Avalanche won their 10th straight game on Monday night, taking down the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-2.

Yes, that’s 10 wins by the team that ended last season with an NHL-worst 48 points.

Hockey is wonderful, isn’t it?

The Avalanche have been pretty darn good during that streak, outscoring opponents 41-16 during that span. Scoring four goals per game on average will win you more than it won’t.

And the Avs have had success on the back end. Jonathan Bernier has been completely lights out during the streak. He is on a streak of his own with nine straight wins, becoming the third netminder in franchise history to win nine in a row after Stephane Fiset (9) and Patrick Roy (11).

Colorado’s streak is also an NHL-best this season and it’s the second longest streak in Avs history (they won 12 straight during the 1998-99 season).

The Avs are sitting on 57 points, good for the second wildcard spot in the Western Conference.


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

Jason Zucker takes a puck to the head (video)

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How in the world did he get up?

Too many players have been getting drilled in the head lately by slap shots. It’s an ugly site to behold whenever it happens

Somehow, however, Jason Zucker of the Minnesota Wild was able to pop right back up and head directly to the dressing room. No passing GO on this one.

The puck hit him so squarely in the helmet that it ricocheted back toward the Thomas Chabot, who uncorked the shot in the first place.

Even more insane is that Zucker was able to return to the game.

Talk about hard-headed.