Moore still 'not the same person'

Updated: December 23, 2004, 9:23 PM ET
Associated Press

TORONTO -- Steve Moore says he has been forever changed by Todd Bertuzzi's blind-sided punch to his head in an NHL game last season.

Steve Moore
Moore

He is still feeling the effects from the March 8 attack when Moore and the Colorado Avalanche played Bertuzzi and the Vancouver Canucks. And to make matters worse, Moore is upset that Bertuzzi was able to reach a plea bargain with prosecutors that made it impossible for Moore to be present for the sentencing hearing on Wednesday.

Bertuzzi won't serve any jail time, and if he performs 80 hours of community service and meets his probation requirements, he won't have a criminal record.

Moore's hockey future is much cloudier. He declined to go into detail about his condition, but said doctors have told him the resumption of his playing career is uncertain.

"I still suffer from significant post-concussion symptoms which prevent me from living a fully normal life," Moore said Thursday. "I'm just not the same person I was."

Bertuzzi pleaded guilty and received a year's probation in which he is not allowed to play in a game against Moore.

The Avalanche forward was hospitalized with a broken neck, facial cuts, post-concussion symptoms and amnesia after Bertuzzi slugged and jumped him from behind, driving him headfirst into the ice.

Tim Danson, Moore's lawyer, said he and his client weren't passing judgment on Bertuzzi's sentence. But Danson has asked the British Columbia attorney general to investigate why the plea bargain was allowed to proceed without Moore in the courtroom.

Attorney General Geoff Plant said he was satisfied with the actions of the prosecution.

"There will be no further investigation," Plant said.

Danson said he learned of the plea bargain on Monday, and was given just one day's notice of the new court date, not enough for Moore to get to Vancouver in time.

Moore wanted the chance to personally read his victim impact statement, but instead it was delivered on his behalf.

"For many months I was expecting that I would get a chance to tell my story, but they unexpectedly made a plea bargain, which I unexpectedly first learned about through the media," Moore said. "This was pulled out from under me at the last minute, it's disappointing."

Danson suggested that if Bertuzzi felt remorse for assaulting Moore, he would have ensured the victim would have been in court.

"I have never received a personal apology or a private apology," Moore said. "Apparently there was an apology (Wednesday) but I wasn't able to be there."

The attack was seen as retaliation for a hit Moore put on Vancouver star Markus Naslund that left the Canucks captain with a concussion and sidelined him for three games. Danson said Moore received threats for three weeks before the assault took place.

"This attack had nothing to do with hockey," Danson said. "The puck was nowhere near Mr. Bertuzzi or Mr. Moore. And so what happened in this case is what they promised, to do serious injury to Mr. Moore -- and they did. And the result is a $500 fine and community service."

Bertuzzi was suspended indefinitely by the NHL, missing 13 regular-season games and seven postseason games while losing nearly $502,000 in salary.

Bill Daly, the NHL's chief legal officer, said Wednesday the league expects Bertuzzi to ask for a quick hearing to reinstate his playing status despite the ongoing lockout that threatens to wipe out the season.

Moore, who does not have an NHL contract, suggested he won't file a civil lawsuit until doctors tell him he can't return to hockey.


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press

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