July 21, 2012
Bertuzzi-Moore case could be rivetingWill Crawford testify or won't he?
By STEVE SIMMONS, QMI Agency
You know we’re getting close to the Todd Bertuzzi-Steve Moore civil suit when mental giants such as former NHL star Scott Parker (seven goals in eight seasons as a forward) crawl out from under some rock to let the world know that Moore got what he deserved.
The multimillion-dollar lawsuit finally goes to court in late September. And of major concern now is the status of key witness (for both sides) Marc Crawford, who was coach of the Vancouver Canucks when Bertuzzi ended Moore’s career in 2004.
Crawford has signed on to coach in Switzerland for the coming hockey season. Whether he returns to testify — or can be forced to return to testify — is a matter yet to be determined.
The Bertuzzi-Moore case is certain to get all kinds of coverage come September and should there be an NHL lockout at the time, this overdue piece of nasty business will be the featured event on the hockey calendar. The league and the sport will essentially be on trial. The testimony, with or without Crawford, should be fascinating, emotional and at times, angry.
THIS AND THAT
David Poile has done this before. He didn’t match the Scott Stevens restricted offer sheet in 1990. And oddly enough, his Washington Capitals actually got better the following season. But that won’t happen in Nashville after already losing Ryan Suter to free agency. Poile must match the Philadelphia offer for Shea Weber if only to maintain credibility for a franchise forever fighting for acceptance ... Give Paul Holmgren credit. He is nothing if not aggressive. In the past year and some, he has traded away Mike Richards, Jeff Carter, James van Riemsdyk and Sergei Bobrovsky; lost Matt Carle, Kris Versteeg and Ville Leino to free agency; signed Jaromir Jagr (then lost him), Ilya Bryzgalov and Max Talbot as free agents; traded for Jakub Voracek, Wayne Simmonds, Luke Schenn, and an early first-round pick, lost Chris Pronger to concussion and signed Weber to a monster free-agent contract that may or may not work out in his favour. Wouldn’t every fan in hockey want a GM so unafraid of making big, bold moves? ... If this, indeed, is the end for Pronger, then we should sit back and marvel at his career. He carried the Edmonton Oilers and the Philadelphia Flyers within a win or two of the Stanley Cup, won the Cup in Anaheim, should have won a Conn Smythe Trophy in 2006, won the Norris, won the Hart in 2000 as MVP and just for fun, twice was traded for Joffrey Lupul in packages. He changed games, slowed them down, understood how to play hard and preserve energy all at the same time and used intimidation as his friend. He was that complete and occasionally that vicious.
HEAR AND THERE
I can hear Scotty Bowman’s voice in my head after the Blue Jays’
undecipherable 10-man trade of semi consequence on Friday: “Nothing for nothing,” Bowman once grumbled about dealing Danny Gare for Mike Foligno. And those were mainstream players ... Good for Colby Rasmus, being true to himself and ignoring Tony LaRussa and not turning his World Series ring presentation into something phony. Rasmus couldn’t stand playing for LaRussa. Why make nice now? ... Why the Red Sox are still in the race: Kids like Felix Doubront (10-4) and Will Middledbrooks (with better first year numbers than Brett Lawrie) have really stepped up. Name a young Jay on the big league roster not named Rasmus who has performed beyond expectations ... What doesn’t make sense: Most of the Blue Jays rotation is out. Ricky Romero has one win and a 6.95 earned run average in his last eight starts. And the Jays are still one hot streak away from being in contention. Not that it’s going to happen. But, heck, in Toronto these days what if is better than no chance, isn’t it? ... If you believe Sports Illustrated, don’t expect a lot of Canadian medals from the London Olympics. In its pre-Olympic edition, SI has tabbed Canada to win 15 medals, and only two gold. Their tipping both Tara Whitten of Edmonton and Catharine Pendrel of Fredericton to win cycling golds. SI is also picking Canada’s women wrestlers to come home with three medals.
SCENE AND HEARD
The Leafs started asking about goalie Jonathan Bernier right after the Stanley Cup. Kings GM Dean Lombardi originally insisted he wouldn’t trade Bernier but all that changed when Jonathan Quick signed a longterm deal and Bernier asked out. The apparent asking price for Bernier is Matt Frattin and a draft pick. If the Leafs truly believe in Bernier they make that trade. Otherwise, they wait around to see if the Roberto Luongo to Florida mess falls apart. The problem with Bernier is: He’s no sure thing. Is he the next Cam Ward or the next Justin Pogge? ... Strictly for the potential comedy, wouldn’t it have been fun had Nikolai Kulemin taken the Leafs to arbitration and you could watch it on TV? Imagine trying to make a case for a raise after a pathetic seven-goal season. I’d like to see an agent argue that one in front of Judge Judy ... Strange piece of coaching business: Larry Robinson leaves New Jersey as an assistant coach to take a similar job with the San Jose Sharks (to be closer to his grandchildren and Steve Nash’s children). Meanwhile, Sharks assistant Matt Shaw is let go and winds up hired on the Devils staff ... The Sarnia Sting produced the first and third picks in the NHL Draft in Nail Yakupov and Alex Galchenyuk yet all I’m hearing this summer is how just about everyone who plays for coach Jacques Beaulieu wants out of there.
AND ANOTHER THING
Eric Tillman, without a quarterback, without Ricky Ray, is 3-1 with the Edmonton Eskimos. So maybe E.T. is just smarter than all of us — especially considering that Kavis Reed’s defence has given up 56 points against in four games, which can’t be sustainable. Can it? ... Let me get this straight. Jeremy Lin didn’t want to leave the Knicks and didn’t want to play in Houston. So, why sell yourself out for $25 million and sign with the Rockets? Why not follow your heart? You’re going to get paid anyhow ... Lennox Lewis runs with the Olympic torch Sunday in the U.K. I wonder if anyone there knows he won a gold medal fighting for Canada in the 1988 Olympics, and was an early casualty in the 1984 Games in Los Angeles wearing the red and white ... Does Franco Harris have any idea how ridiculous he sounds every time he defends Joe Paterno? Hey, Franco, time to put a sock in it ... I give up. Why would Larry Tanenbaum have to give personal invitations to Mats Sundin and Tie Domi to play in the outdoor alumni game in Detroit? Wouldn’t they want to play? It’s called giving back ... Heading to London Monday for coverage of the Summer Olympics.The regular Sunday dots and dashes column will return when I do in late August ... Born this date: Ralph Sazio and The Fabulous Moolah. And a happy birthday to Dave Stieb (55), Cliff Johnson (65), Michael Spinks (56), Shawn Michaels (47), Alvin Robertson (50) and Alex Trebek (72) ... And hey, whatever became of Kathleen Heddle?
BOOK? WHAT BOOK?
The nefarious David Frost, who sometimes goes by other names, claimed to be writing a book that would “tell the whole story” of “what really happened” with Mike Danton. The book was to be released at the beginning of the last NHL season. Then it was apparently delayed. And then delayed again. A company called Coastal West Publishing advertised pre-sales of the book Frosted online and that webpage still exists if you search for it. But phone calls to Coastal West Publishing now go to a number that is no longer in service and e-mails to their addresses go unanswered. If the company still exists, it is doing so in secret. Frost, as junior operator, agent, and target of a botched hit, has forever promised the truth of all his controversial situations would come out. That’s what he says. Inevitably, though, it remains mostly in his imagination and apparently with a publishing house that no longer exists.
DOAN'S GOTTA GO
Shane Doan is 36 years old and with all kinds of options. In no particular order, he has been invited to play alongside Claude Giroux in Philadelphia, Pavel Datsyuk in Detroit, the Sedin twins in Vancouver or Sidney Crosby in Pittsburgh — and that’s just some of the high-end opportunities for the well-regarded Phoenix captain. But so far, Doan has listened, nodded and remained remarkably loyal to the NHL-owned and forever wonky Phoenix Coyotes. That is gallant of him but at this stage of his career, and as a free agent, Doan owes nothing to the Coyotes. It’s time for him to cut ties, walk away, and take some real shots at the Stanley Cup.
SWING AND A BIG MISS
How did just about everyone in baseball miss on Mike Trout? How did 23 teams pass on him in the 2009 draft, which may turn out be one of the great slights in modern drafting history, any sport? It’s understandable that the Washington Nationals selected Stephen Strasburg first overall. That made sense. The next 23 picks, though, are the kind that make a general manager cringe. Trout, right now, at age 20, in his first full big league season, is the best player in baseball. The Angels’ star is leading the American League in batting, stolen bases, run scored, is second in OPS and should become the youngest MVP in history in October. Like 23 other teams, the Blue Jays passed on Trout and then GM J.P. Ricciardi selected Chad Jenkins with the 20th pick in the draft. For those interested, Jenkins is 4-9 with a 5.26 earned run average in double A. For the record, Ricciardi never considered Trout with the Jays’ pick. The Jays were concerned he had played with weak competition in high school in New Jersey and frankly, didn’t like his swing or the fact he was a high school player from the east coast. The draft, mercifully, was Ricciardi’s last as Jays GM.