SUN Hockey Pool

Just who are the real victims?

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 1:18 PM ET

Other things to think about when we're finished wondering who'd win a self-pity contest between Theo Fleury and Barry Bonds:

The most important question of the entire Todd Bertuzzi reinstatement debate isn't whether or not the NHL should render a judgment on his future, but rather why on Earth Gary Bettman is wasting a single breath on the subject.

In case they haven't noticed, and the league should be alarmed that so many people haven't, there is no NHL for Bertuzzi to come back to. It's like voting who gets a life-jacket on a sinking ship when you can't find the life-jackets.

So what if the jobs in Europe are drying up and Bertuzzi can't fly overseas to take away someone's career over there, too? When did that become the NHL's problem? They should get around to worrying about Big Bert's well-being when they're good and ready, and that shouldn't be a minute before they've straightened out the collective bargaining agreement, first.

TURNABOUT IS FAIR PLAY: Bertuzzi deserves all the scorn and punishment he gets, but more hockey people believe than will admit publicly that all of this could have been avoided if Steve Moore just turned and defended himself.

He's big enough (six-foot-three, 215) to answer the bell and smart enough to know that you can't hide behind the instigator penalty after concussing a rival's best player with a borderline hit.

Edmontonians understand this more than anyone. If one of the Flames knocked Wayne Gretzky cold and split open his face with a head shot, then wrestled Dave Hunter to a draw, it wouldn't have been the end of it. Not until he dealt with Dave Semenko. And when Bryan Marchment kneed Doug Weight out of a game three years ago, he knew it wasn't over because he'd fought Ethan Moreau. He stepped up in the rematch and took on Georges Laraque in a fight he knew he'd lose.

That's the law of the league and it's there for a good reason. If you don't like it, don't take head shots at superstars. Simple as that.

STATION BREAK: Let's see now, in the last two months CBC Sports has: Lost the Olympics to TSN, lost Chris Cuthbert to TSN, and alienated virtually every curling fan in the country. This, after almost losing Ron MacLean to a bitter contract dispute and turning their guns on Don Cherry. And we were afraid we wouldn't get any entertainment value for our tax money ... Still waiting for Bob Goodenow's exit strategy, and wondering how he keeps his job when the players realize they gave up a year's salary to sign a deal that's worse than the one they had in front of them last September.

DUB-LE TROUBLE: With the Red Deer Rebels and Calgary Hitmen in the neighbourhood, the WHL would be a perfect fit in Edmonton, but if I was a franchise owner I'd be gritting my teeth awfully hard before I voted to give the Oilers an entry. Weren't they the ones who ran the Edmonton Ice out of town? Granted, it was a different regime but those wounds have to run deep ... Lost in all the controversy surrounding Theo Fleury's Allan Cup fiasco is that Gino Odjick was a genuine, stand up guy the whole tournament. He stuck to hockey, didn't goon, grandstand or embarrass himself or his team with demeaning rants. And his interest in helping native kids through sports is genuine, going all the way back to his NHL days.

AND ANOTHER THING: Regarding the World Hockey Championships: Wake me up for the medal round... Is it any coincidence that in the year Rick Campbell takes over as defensive co-ordinator, the Eskimos spare no expense in stacking their defence with high-priced free agents?... Since when has the first round of the NBA playoffs been front-page sports news in Edmonton?... Looking forward to Mike Tyson's June 11 "train wreck'' against Kevin McBride, but the tattoo thing was funnier when John Candy played "the guy with the snake on his face,'' on SCTV. 


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