Bertuzzi smacks Crawford with suit

SAM PAZZANO, COURTS BUREAU

, Last Updated: 7:22 AM ET

NHL forward Todd Bertuzzi has launched a lawsuit against his former Vancouver Canucks coach, Marc Crawford, that could see him liable for millions in damages for the player's notorious on-ice assault on Steve Moore.

The claim filed earlier this month alleges that Crawford "urged his players, including Bertuzzi, to make Moore 'pay the price' when Crawford knew or ought to have known this was likely to result in injury to Moore."

The attack was ordered by Crawford to avenge a Moore hit against Vancouver captain Markus Naslund in an earlier game, court heard.

Moore originally filed a lawsuit against Bertuzzi and the Canucks, seeking up to $38 million, but court documents obtained yesterday by the Sun Media show the former NHL player is naming Crawford in the case as well.

In his lawsuit Bertuzzi said his NHL contract compelled him to "take direction from his coach in all matters related to his role as a player."

"Crawford failed to exercise control over and caution his players against physical aggression toward Moore when he knew or ought to have known that this was likely to result in injury to Moore," the claim states.

None of the allegations in the lawsuit have been tested in court. If Moore wins his case, Bertuzzi wants Crawford to be partially responsible for the damages and is also seeking costs to defend against the Moore lawsuit and on his lawsuit against Crawford.

Bertuzzi punched Moore from behind and then fell on top of him in an attack that effectively ended his career.

Bertuzzi, who now plays for the Anaheim Ducks, was suspended by the NHL and charged with assault in June 2004. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to probation and community service.


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