Saying no to NHL violence

By Jeffery Armstrong

The game of hockey and I have never really had much of a love affair. When I was a teen, it was football, basketball, baseball and yes, pro wrestling (hey, it was great back in the ?80s and early 90's!). Professional hockey was okay n as a youngster, I liked the fights and the checks into the boards, but that was about it.

When I was in high school, I watched the Edmonton Oilers with Wayne Gretzky defeat some team on ESPN. The Oilers were just coming off a Stanley Cup season and they looked like champions. I found myself enticed by the way the Oilers moved down the ice, passed the puck around and seemingly scoring at will. Cool, I thought, but that game wasn't enough to get me to watch hockey over my other sports.

Nowadays, only the NFL, college football and college basketball are the only sports I get excited about. Baseball, pro and college? Nope. NBA basketball? No way. Pro wrestling? Heck no. Hockey? Forget about it, especially after that atrocious, disgusting display from Monday night when the Vancouver Canuck's Todd Bertuzzi assaulted Colorado Avalanche forward Steve Moore, sending Moore to the hospital with a broken neck. That was the worst display of game play I have ever seen in sports and I've seen some rough stuff over the years.

How cowardly and sadistic do you have to be to hit a man in the head with his back turned, then drive his body face first onto hard, cold ice? That was terrible. Moore suffered a broken neck and could've been paralyzed, or at worse, killed. Needless to say, Moore is done for this season.

Now I've seen plenty of hockey highlights where players have rammed others into the boards and the glass, but that was the worst hit I've ever seen in hockey.

That probably was slightly worse than when that moron Marty McSorley smacked former Vancouver Canuck Donald Brashear in the head with his hockey stick in February 2000.

The Canadian authorities smacked McSorley with the charge of assault with a weapon, but somehow that bum managed to receive an 18-month conditional discharge. That meant he spent no time in jail and he wouldn't have a criminal record after his probation ended. But the National Hockey League was much tougher, suspending McSorley for a year and he never played again.

What's interesting was that Bertuzzi was a teammate of Brashear's when he was hit and he spoke to the media about what a terrible thing McSorley did. But, I guess Bertuzzi suddenly came up with a case of selective memory and assaulted someone himself four years later. That's disgusting.

So that's it, folks. I'm done with hockey. I know the NFL is violent, but I can't take the seemingly endless stream of violence that happens in the NHL. How through am I with hockey? I'd rather be forced to watch a baseball game n make that a doubleheader n between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Milwaukee Brewers instead of watching a hockey game.

Jeffery Armstrong is a sports writer for the Daily and his column appears on Thursdays. He can be reached at jarmstrong@news-daily.com.