Todd Bertuzzi has yet to find a home. Since his Vancouver days, the burly winger has never spent more than a full year with any team. First, he was traded to Florida for Roberto Luongo, but promptly shipped to Detroit at the deadline. He wasn’t as effective as Ken Holland had hoped for, despite putting up 4 points in 8 games. He then promptly signed a lucrative contract with Anaheim, re-uniting him with Brian Burke, and with the promise of possibly playing alongside Ryan Getzlaf or Andy McDonald, things looked pretty bright. But with Scott Niedermayer notifying the team of his commitment for 82 games, and with Teemu Selanne still mulling over retirement, it left Bertuzzi, along with his hefty contract, the casualty. So, for the third straight season, Bertuzzi will be putting on a different sweater than the season before.
All this, some argue, can be traced back to the 2004 Steve Moore incident. Moore suffered facial lacerations and broken vertebrae as a result of Bertuzzi’s sucker punch and the pile-up that followed, and promptly smacked a $38m lawsuit against Bertuzzi, Marc Crawford, Brian Burke, Brad May, and Orca Bay. The lawsuit was filed in Colorado, the place of the event, but was thrown out as the judge felt that BC would be a better venue. In Vancouver, Bertuzzi pleaded guilty to charges of assault causing bodily harm, and completed his probation successfully. In 2006, Moore filed another lawsuit against Bertuzzi in his native province of Ontario, citing loss of income, aggravated damages, punitive damages, and mental distress. The lawsuit claims that Bertuzzi should owe Moore roughly $20m.
Of course Bertuzzi didn’t have $20m lying around (he had tried to settle with Moore for $350k), and has since filed a lawsuit against Crawford in his own defense. Bertuzzi claims that he was obeying Crawford, and that he was contractually obligated to do so. However, just recently Crawford has came out saying that Bertuzzi refused to listen to him, and that his actions were of his own doing and further claims that he had tried to get Bertuzzi off the ice. Crawford is vehemently denying any involvement in the incident. It’s a battle of his word against mine, and I don’t ever see Bertuzzi winning this lawsuit because Crawford is innocent until proven guilty. Bertuzzi will have to bring forth some very convincing evidence to win.