Change of scenery could work wonders

MIKE ULMER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:36 AM ET

Todd Bertuzzi is the only person in the world who might hold a wisp of envy for Dany Heatley.

Both men are talented forwards whose lives were forever changed by a dreadful second.

This summer, Heatley asked for a trade out of Atlanta, the scene of the car accident he brought about that cost Heatley his friend Dan Snyder.

Bertuzzi, of course, became hockey's darkest story when he attacked Steve Moore and broke his neck.

Bertuzzi says he is not contemplating what set Heatley free.

"I have never once asked for a trade," he said.

He loves the Canucks, loves the city of Vancouver and can live with coach Marc Crawford.

ASKED FOR A TRADE

Faced with a similar choice, Heatley asked Thrashers management for a deal. A move to the Ottawa Senators for Marian Hossa followed two weeks later.

Heatley has scored 19 goals and re-established himself as one of the league's brightest young stars. Bertuzzi has lumbered to eight goals and trade rumours await him at every stop. The latest has Bertuzzi to Ottawa for Wade Redden or Zdeno Chara.

That Bertuzzi or his agent Pat Morris haven't asked for a deal may in fact be true. Perhaps they have given the Canucks a green light to explore talks, not that the team needs it.

It doesn't matter.

Bertuzzi will change his mind, and Canucks general manager Dave Nonis will do likewise.

This is a marriage that can't work.

Whether you are talking marriage or business, adultery or the death of a child in life or layoffs or the sale of the business at work, schisms come with trauma and with trauma comes irrevocable changes.

Even though the scenes and the sights and the smells are the same, the feelings aren't.

"With everything that has happened in Atlanta, I felt it would have been difficult for me to go back there," Heatley said at the time of his trade.

Atlanta GM Don Waddell also recognized that things never would be the same.

"The emotions that went with the accident, being here in the city, driving by the place where the accident happened and being reminded of it, all that led to Dany to think he needed a fresh start," he said.

Pro sports is full of the search for second chances.

In the NBA, Ron Artest missed 73 games and all of the playoffs last season for his role in a brawl in Detroit.

Now, he says, there is too much history in Indiana and he wants out. Artest is a chronic distraction who took to incorporating the name of his rap company into his haircut.

Despite his average of just under 20 points a night, the Pacers will comply and nothing will change at all for him. He will just take his act to a fresh audience.

And yes, substance abuse has prompted players to board a carousel between cities. You need only look at the Steve Howes and the Dwight Goodens or even the Theo Fleurys.

Their lives are oozing between the tightening fingers of their addiction.

But Vancouver always is going to be where Bertuzzi wrecked Steve Moore's life and sidetracked his own career.

And so Bertuzzi must move on.

He remains one of the most potentially overpowering forwards in the game.

The new rules have shown themselves to be generous to big, hulking forwards who can skate.

Bertuzzi has apologized to Moore. He has asked forgiveness. But the past can't be undone and without forgiveness, there can be no peace.

Heatley received unyielding support from Snyder's family.

That, as much as the change of scenery, is what has pushed Heatley back into the league's elite.

That doesn't seem imminent for Moore.

And so the only thing left is to leave the scene of the crime.


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