Hockey horror picture show |

Hockey horror picture show

Matt Zalaznick

There’s a reason us fans prefer hockey to tennis and golf – the speed, the constant action and yes, the fights and the violence.

But for us hockey purists, Todd Bertuzzi’s vicious attack on the Colorado Avalanche’s Steve Moore was deeply depressing. The Vancouver star’s assault not only smears the sport, it also tarnishes everything hockey fans love about the sport.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with pro hockey, about 99 percent of the fights are consensual and almost always fought between the teams’ tough guys after the pair have a little chat and agree to drop the gloves. They knock each other’s teeth out and go sit in the penalty box for five minutes.

A good fight makes the fans nuts; a good, honest fight inspires a sagging team; a good fight can revive a dull game – a good, honest fight is, well, a good, honest fight. And that exciting part of hockey shouldn’t be eliminated by an overreaction to Bertuzzi’s crime, which most certainly was neither good nor honest.

Moore presumably did not chat with Bertuzzi and agree to have his neck broken and his face torn open. An ambush like that only sickens fans, soils the game and demoralizes both teams.

Bertuzzi should have challenged Moore to an honest fight and Moore, who himself was guilty of a nasty cheap shot on one of Bertuzzi’s teammates earlier in the season, should have obliged.

Bertuzzi humiliated himself and his sport, sucker-punching himself and his team right out of contention for the Stanley Cup.

Bertuzzi, who will have to apply to get his job back next season, shouldn’t get paid until Moore can skate again. But he may not even have a chance to reapply because there’s likely to be a work stoppage after the end of this season.

Seems the millionaire players and their multi-millionaire bosses are again competing to see who’s greedier.

And perhaps that’s the most stinging penalty – suspending Bertuzzi without pay, because money seems to be the compensation that matters most to athletes these days. A fat signing bonus seems to be a bigger deal than winning a championship and is more important than being loyal to a city and its fans.

Bertuzzi’s disgusting behavior seems to be the latest sign of a general decay in big time sports that’s been shoved in the spotlight over and over again within the last year by Kobe Bryant’s legal or illegal depravity, baseball’s steroid addiction and the University of Colorado’s sex scandal.

Maybe one day, us fans will realize what morons these athletes and their masters take us for and start spending more a lot more time outdoors.

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