Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Horse Wasn't Quite Dead

I wanted to share this video as a follow-up to a post I made late last month about public perception of the Bertuzzi event. I discussed how I felt that Bertuzzi's punishment was deserved but also how I felt that the public had quickly disowned him based on the result of the act and not the act itself. The video below is a perfect example of how public perception is based on the outcome of a cheap shot and not the intent or danger of the act itself.

Bill mentioned that Bertuzzi's shot ended a player's career and thus needs to be judged accordingly. My only issue with that is that we punish and judge much like our broken law system. If someone drinks a fifth of Jack, jumps behind the wheel of a car and crashes into a family of four they can have two very different outcomes in terms of punishment. If anyone dies, then chances are they're going to prison. However, if they only shatter a few pelvises and possibly make it difficult for them to walk for the rest of their life then their punishment is much less severe. My question is, what role did they play in the outcome of that crash? If no one died, they got lucky and get a lighter punishment which makes no sense to me. By no fault of their own did someone NOT die. This applies directly to the NHL.

The video I included above shows exactly what I'm talking about. If I remember correctly, Bure was fined for this and not suspended. In today's NHL, he would definitely be suspended. He would most likely be suspended for both the elbow and the very high slash he delivers early in the video but that's not the point. The point is that this had a very serious impact on Shane Churla's career costing him a lot of games that season. Frankly, he was never quite the same for the Stars afterwards. However, this event was never on the TV, never on the radio and no one cared simply because Bure got lucky that Churla didn't break his neck or suffer a career ending injury. There are a million of these instances where players got lucky not to cause the same kind of injury that Bertuzzi did but that one moment sticks out in everyone's head and I can't help but comment on the fact that he ends up being the whipping boy. The fact of the matter is that Bure continued to be a celebrated player, and still is today, despite an action that was, frankly, more dangerous and nastier than Bertuzzi's punch. Of course, sports are all about judging for yourself.

Oh, and I promise that this will be my last post on the topic. I simply couldn't help but share the video. The horse is officially glue.

No comments: