Todd Bertuzzi vs. Steve Moore. Todd Bertuzzi vs. The Media. Todd Bertuzzi vs. Anyone.
When does it end? For the majority of the hockey world, it already has.
A total of 531 days have passed since Bertuzzi brutally attacked Moore from behind and drove him face-first into the ice, breaking Moore's neck and putting his NHL future on hold. In reality, a 17-month suspension of Bertuzzi totaled a scant 20 games courtesy of a league lockout and his reinstatement by Gary Bettman on Aug. 8.
And as the media once again shines the spotlight on this psychological petri dish, complete with the vilification of Bertuzzi, the lament of Moore's condition and the questionable judgment of the NHL, those in the hockey world have not only turned the page -- they've closed the book.
The message is clear: We're letting it go. Now it's time for you to do the same.
How else do you explain the camaraderie at the Olympic orientation camp this week between the thuggish Bertuzzi and Joe Sakic or Adam Foote -- both former teammates of Steve Moore?
Sakic told the Canadian Press on Monday, "Todd has served his suspension and it was a lengthy suspension ... he served that and you have to move on."
Foote commented to Vancouver's The Province: "For me, it's something that's over ... I hope Moore comes out of it okay and I hope Todd comes out of it okay."
How can we justify the continuing discussion of punishment when hockey's own deity has pushed the matter aside, seemingly doing so even before the reinstatement of Bertuzzi? Team Canada executive director Wayne Gretzky admitted that he had no qualms about inviting Bertuzzi to the orientation camp once he was reinstated.
It's tempting to speculate at what point Gretzky privately felt that Bertuzzi had served his time, especially considering how open he was on welcoming the Canucks star back into the Olympic fold.
LEFT BY WAYSIDE
Yet again Moore is being left by the wayside, this time by his own peers. And while some are still demanding eye-for-an-eye justice, insisting that Bertuzzi not play until Moore does, who is to say that Moore would survive in the new NHL?
Moore earned $425,000 US in 2003-04. His return to Denver seems highly doubtful. Can space be found for Moore when the Avalanche are feeling ironic and adding elements like Brad May?
Healthy or injured, it doesn't matter. A guarantee of employment in pro sport doesn't exist. It is a harsh reality, but logistically it would be far more lucrative for Moore to financially hemorrhage Bertuzzi (and all others named) in a civil suit.
Mistakes were made by virtually everyone involved in this saga. But if those that play -- those that participated in the game in question -- have been requesting that the matter be put to rest, it would seem to be an appropriate decision to make. Not right, but appropriate.
And that's probably the best we can do in handling a matter that's been completely inappropriate.
SOFTER HARDER: The beginning of the school year is drawing near, which will hopefully signal the end of the immature war of words between city councillor Jan Harder and Renegades president Lonie Glieberman. Is such sophomoric behaviour necessary over a promotion that for the most part has been ... well ... all yak and no rack? Ottawa has come to accept a questionable level of etiquette from Glieberman and it takes a supreme amount of effort to be portrayed in a worse light than the 'Gades president. But Ms. Harder seems determined to accomplish this feat by continuing her puerile attacks, while Glieberman rolls with the punches. The eventual victor seems obvious in this battle, at least in the court of public opinion.
UGLY SHIRTS: On Wednesday, Team Canada unveiled the new uniforms that will be worn at the Olympics and world junior hockey championship. The jerseys are designed to be lighter in weight, allowing for greater speed. This will be beneficial, seeing as that the jerseys are so freakishly ugly you won't see them for long if they are zipping past.
HOT SHOTS: ESPN's Sal Paolantonio suggested that Terrell Owens has been sporting camouflage because he doesn't want to be "seen or heard," which totally makes sense given Owens' outlandish behaviour. I imagine the idea of Owens being at war with the Eagles never entered Paolantonio's head ... What's the real reason behind the CBC lockout? The network can't afford to take on more full-time employees until it can pay off Bob Cole's cryogenics bill.