Tuesday, November 06, 2007


What's really illuminating about the story that Todd Bertuzzi offered Steve Moore a paltry $350,000 for his pain at that "secret meeting" in 2006 is that NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and deputy commish Bill Daly were there.

That tells you how much Bettman and Daly are really concerned about curbing violence in their game. Or you could take it to mean they're trying to keep the price down ahead of whenever someone does get killed during a NHL game.

Bertuzzi offered Moore $350,000 (Rick Westhead, Toronto Star)


Anonymous said...

Is this really a surprise? Remember Bertuzzi'a "apology" to Moore? Once he finished his lawyer-written statement and started speaking for himself, it became very clear that the only one he felt badly for was himself. He spoke as if HE, Bertuzzi, was the victim. Before his "apology", I thought Bertuzzi was just a scumbag cheapshot artist. After it, I wondered if he might have sociopathic tendencies - no empathy, no remorse, totally self centered.

Dennis Prouse said...

I'll pull on my asbestos suit here for the replies that will follow, and I will preface this by saying that in no way do I condone Bertuzzi's actions. It was a selfish, dangerous act carried out by a guy with a long history of thuggish behaviour, and putting himself first. As Barry Trotz put it after the incident, this was hardly the first time Bertuzzi had done something extremely dumb on the ice -- it was just the first time it turned out so badly.

Having said that, I would urge everyone to put aside your feelings for Bertuzzi, and look long and hard at Moore's case. Contrary to myth, he did not have a "broken neck" -- there was a small bone in the neck area, not a vertabrae, that was cracked, and it healed up long ago. Moore had no prior history of concussions, and has not been diagnosed as being brain injured now.

Rather, Moore is claiming that long, very familiar list of symptoms usually listed by those looking for a big settlement after an auto accident. "Fatigue", "dizzy spells", and, of course, "depression" are what he is now allegedly suffering from. (I'm somewhat surprised he isn't claiming fibromyaglia as well.)

All of these symptoms, of course, have one thing in common -- no one can prove you DON'T have them. Rhetorical question, of course, but why is it that Paul Kariya, who was cross-checked full force across the jaw by Gary Suter, was able to come back from a serious concussion, yet Steve Moore apparently can't even work out? Even concussion prone Eric Lindros came back eventually after the Scott Stevens hit -- doesn't it seem just a little bit curious that Steve Moore, a healthy young man in his 20s, is so completely unable to recover from this?

I would submit to you two things -- firstly, that Moore's injuries are at least as much psychological as they are physical, and secondly, that his condition is somewhat lawyer induced, and that he will start feeling much better once a very large cheque from Bertuzzi, Orca Bay, and the NHL clears the bank.

Again, I'm not defending Bertuzzi's actions. What I am doing is outlining the kind of questions Bertuzzi's legal counsel will start asking in the unlikely event this ever goes to trial. (A settlement of some kind is almost certainly in the cards here eventually.)

sager said...

Fair enough... so why not just take the million that was offered in the first place?

That said, as an addendum to Dennis' point, it would be hard to paint Moore as a moneygrubber in a civil trial with a jury, especially if Danson can control the selection and get something like an eight-woman, four-man ratio.

Between his Ivy League background and his modest ability as a fourth-line player, Moore might not be seen as a greedy jock, but as a relative innocent who had his livelihood ripped away from him by the idiocy of the game itself as personified by Mr. Bertuzzi. The fact that he has a lot more to fall back on than a kid who went the major-junior route might help curry favour with a jury -- if it ever goes that far.

Tim Danson can play this game very well.

Dennis Prouse said...

I actually think that Danson has been overplaying his hand. Sure, it's his job to be loud, overbearing and melodramatic, but if his courtroom demeanour is anything like the airs he puts on with the media, I'm not sure Moore's best interests will be served.

Good point about the jury selection -- that would be the key to any trial. The defence would be looking for as much testosterone as they could find, while the plaintiff would be searching out empathetic looking women. It won't go that far, though -- there is obviously a settlement to be made here, and it will get done eventually.

Anonymous said...


I'm curious about your description of Moore's injuries, specifically that "there was a small bone in the neck area, not a vertabrae, that was cracked". This contradicts the reports I've seen, including today's AP and ESPN reports, and statements made at the time of Bertuzzi's court appearance. They claim that Moore suffered three three spinal fractures in his neck (specifically C3, C4, and Tl), along with a grade-three concussion.
Could you provide a link for your info?

Dennis Prouse said...


To be specific, Moore's fractures were in the transverse processes, the non-weight bearing portion of the vertebrae where the ligaments attach. I was wrong to suggest it wasn't a vertabrae -- poor memory and a lack of a medical degree are to blame! Rather, it was the fact that the transverse processes is the non-weight bearing portion of the vertabrae. Yes, he was badly hurt, but this was not the kind of neck injury where his spinal cord was at risk. The expression "broken neck" would lead one to believe that there was a possible spinal cord injury, and that was not the case.

I found the very large neck brace used by Moore in his first press conference to be interesting. In his book, "Whiplash and Other Useful Illnesses", Dr. Andrew Malleson points out that such braces are more for psychological support than physical support. If a patient was sufficiently injured to the point where that kind of neck support was needed, according to Dr. Malleson, no doctor would let him out of bed.

Again, I'm not suggesting that Moore wasn't hurt, and I'm not suggesting that he isn't owed some compensation. What I am suggesting is that this case seems to be following the pattern that spine specialists have known for years, which is that patients with potential secondary gains (lawsuits, workers comp) tend to have worse outcomes than those who don't. In other words, if Moore had suffered similar injuries falling off the roof of his cottage while doing repairs, he might have bounced back a little faster.