Uploaded on Oct 11, 2011
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NOTE: A clip of this scary incident in high quality has been requested by lots of people over the years.
It was the sucker-punch that shocked the hockey world and a country passionate about the sport.
On Feb. 16, Colorado Avalanche forward Steve Moore made headlines when he knocked Vancouver Canucks captain Markus Naslund unconscious with an open-ice shoulder hit to the head at the Pepsi Center. No penalty was called and no action taken by the NHL in the days that followed.
After the game, Canucks forward Todd Bertuzzi called the officiating a joke, while teammate Brad May indicated a bounty had been placed on the 25-year-old Moore, a rookie NHLer.
Sixteen days later, the teams skated to a 5-5 tie in Colorado. The lone incident was a fight between the Avs' Peter Worrell and Vancouver's Wade Brookbank. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and executive vice-president Colin Campbell attended the game.
As the teams prepared for a March 8 contest in Vancouver, all that seemed to matter was a battle for first place in the Northwest Division. They couldn't be more wrong.
Vancouver Canucks all-star Todd Bertuzzi incited disgust and outrage when he blindsided Colorado Avalanche rookie Steve Moore with a punch from behind on March 8, 2004.
Moore crumpled to the ice, and was hospitalized with three broken vertebrae in his neck and a concussion.
Debate raged across North America about the role of rough justice in hockey.
The NHL suspended Bertuzzi indefinitely and did not reinstate him until Aug. 8, 2005 - exactly 17 months later.
"I want to take this opportunity to thank Canucks fans and the city of Vancouver for all of your kind wishes," Bertuzzi said. "Your support, coupled with that of my teammates, Canucks ownership, management and staff and my agent Pat Morris have been a great help in these very difficult times."
Bertuzzi remained under suspension throughout the 310-day NHL lockout and prohibited from playing in the 2004 World Cup of Hockey, two world championships and in any European pro league.
He also forfeited $501,926.39 US in salary and hundreds of thousands more in endorsements.
Criminal charges filed against Bertuzzi in Vancouver resulted in a guilty plea and a sentence of one year's probation plus 80 hours of community service.
Moore later filed a lawsuit in Denver against Bertuzzi, Canucks head coach Marc Crawford, former Canucks forward Brad May and GM Brian Burke, and Orca Bay Sports and Entertainment, the company that owns the Canucks.
Denver District Judge Shelley Gilman dismissed Moore's lawsuit in October 2005. Gilman wrote that a recent state law designed to keep the court system accessible to Coloradans in the wake of a large number of cases filed by non-residents required her to do so.
The judge did add that she agreed with Bertuzzi's legal representatives that the case would be more appropriately heard in Canada, given the site of the incident and the residency of the participants.
"British Columbia bears the most significant relationship to Moore's claims," Gilman wrote.
Moore's lawyers had argued that since the player was a Colorado resident at the time he should be allowed to seek damages within the state.
With Bertuzzi in Turin, Italy playing for Team Canada at the Winter Olympics, Moore filed a second lawsuit on Feb. 15, 2006.
The lawsuit was filed in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice by Moore's lawyer Tim Danson, and asked millions of dollars in lost wages and damages for Moore and his parents.
The Canucks and Orca Bay were also named in the suit.
Danson filed the claim one day before a two-year limitation on the filing of a lawsuit was due to expire. He denied there was any connection between the timing of the lawsuit and the Olympics.