Will Moore get his due?

MIKE ULMER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:45 AM ET

This is my hope for Steve Moore: That today he gets what's coming to him, the chance to look Todd Bertuzzi in the eye.

Moore was denied that chance when the crown wouldn't give him a few days to fly to Vancouver in December and read a victim impact statement at Bertuzzi's sentencing.

It wouldn't be much, but the act of looking Bertuzzi in the eye would define Moore as forever different from his attacker who, in his defining moment, went after Steve Moore from behind.

That, of course, is what makes Bertuzzi's crime so deplorable.

Whatever your thoughts on fighting, you need to understand that fights hinge on consent. Anything else is an attack.

The wicked truth is that, sooner or later, Bertuzzi will return to the game, perhaps as soon as the world championship, which begins Saturday, but most likely during the early going of the next NHL season.

When he does, he will manifest a profound unfairness. He can come back. Steve Moore can not.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and his advisers must now decide whether Bertuzzi is a changed man. There can be no doubt that Moore is.

The closest to any reparation that can be made to Moore will be financial, the result of a lawsuit against Bertuzzi and the Canucks.

Moore has lost his future, the focus of his life, the health that even non-athletes take for granted.

More than 13 months after the attack, Moore's post-concussion syndrome has eased only minutely. He can't exercise. He is fighting the usual symptoms of post-concussion syndrome: Fatigue, periods of disorientation and headaches.

Those aren't Moore's only obstacles.

Some of the game's biggest stars and the Canadian hockey establishment have rallied around Bertuzzi. Markus Naslund, whose injury inflicted by Moore set the wave of retribution in motion, said Moore was a talent-challenged plumber looking for a fast buck. Martin Brodeur wanted Bertuzzi to be eligible for the worlds. Hockey Canada, undeterred by the mugging of Moore, a Canadian on Canadian soil, evidently agrees. Team Canada officials would welcome Bertuzzi. NHLPA executive director Bob Goodenow blamed everything on officiating.

Bertuzzi missed the last 13 games of the 2003-04 season. He also was suspended for the duration of the playoffs but the Canucks went out in the first round. He lost $500,000 US in salary.

A guilty plea to assault causing bodily harm left Bertuzzi with a conditional discharge and no criminal record. He also was fined $500 and sentenced to 80 hours of community service.

Bettman always has held that the damage suffered by Moore would go a long way in determining any further suspension.

That would seem to indicate a lengthy suspension.

The gold-measure standard for suspensions is the one-year sentence handed to Marty McSorley for clubbing Donald Brashear in 2000. Dale Hunter got 21 for running Pierre Turgeon from behind in the 1993 playoffs. Brad May was assessed 20 last November for a particularly gruesome high stick on Columbus Blue Jackets forward Steve Heinze.

If you consider the damage -- Heinze came back two shifts later, Brashear received a concussion and Turgeon missed 11 playoff games -- Bertuzzi should sit another year.

That won't happen. Bertuzzi will get 10 more games or so, something to bring him into Hunter's league, but the naked truth is that Bertuzzi's assault wasn't any worse than McSorley's or Hunter's. What was worse was the injury, three fractured vertebrae in Moore's neck.

There is no magic repair for Moore's injuries, not if Bertuzzi plays in a week, nor if he sits out a year. The only thing left is to let Steve Moore look Todd Bertuzzi in the eye.

Because in the end, a moment laced with cowardice can only really be exercised through courage.


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