Not THAT Tony Granato
Back in 2011, I wrote my first book called American Suicide that decried the corporate structure in America. Aside from the corporate intrigue, the two protagonists in the book were huge, knuckle-headed hockey fans that had an alternative version of what happened on March 8, 2004 when Steve Moore was on the receiving end of a Todd Bertuzzi beat down.
You saw the incident on the National News that night, it was a huge black eye for the sport of hockey. Why was I still talking about the incident 7 years after the fact, in a book? Because it took 10 years to settle the lawsuit and it wasn't as simple as a sucker punch to poor Steve Moore. If you re-visited the American Suicide crew, if you met them in real life, they would have said something very similar to this article: Steve Moore didn't deserve a dime from the Todd Bertuzzi hit.
Why dredge up the Bertuzzi/Moore incident yet again?
I'm not as big of a hockey fan as I used to be, but every 4 years, I'm a huge Olympic Hockey fan, just like when I witnessed the Miracle on Ice when I was a kid. But his year, after the Americans lost to Slovenia...
...yes Slovenia, last week, I saw that the American Coach Tony Granato was angry. Then, after the Americans lost to O.A.R. (the Russians), Tony Granato refused to shake hands with the Russian Coach. As my mind cleared the cobwebs of the past, the gears slowly turned, TONY GRANATO is the US Coach? Not THAT TONY GRANATO.
For the uninitiated, Tony Granato was Steve Moore's Coach for the Colorado Avalanche. Granato coached the Avalanche for 2 years, dropped down to assistant coach, then returned to coach the Avalanche for 1 more year, before bouncing around the assistant ranks for a decade. During the heated 2003-04 NHL season, Colorado and Vancouver were bitter rivals, being the top 2 teams in the Northwest Division. When the Moore/Bertuzzi incident took place, it was Granato on the Avalanche bench. the score was 8-2, and in hindsight, I have some questions for the former coach of Aves....
Editor's Note: I believe Fred's quote in the American Suicide book was:
"Tony Granato should be in jail."
For the millionth time, Steve Moore was not randomly targeted. He was targeted because he had knocked out the 5th leading scorer of the NHL, First-Team All-Star Markus Naslund a few games earlier. If you're a rookie on the fourth-line, and you take out one of the best players in the league, there are going to be ramifications. My question, to you the hockey fan, if you eat and breath hockey, what are the chances of a young man, from Harvard of all places, randomly taking out one of the best players in the league, on his own?
Or, is it more plausible that a COACH told young Steve Moore to be more "aggressive?" I bring this up because during the 00's I was a huge Detroit Red Wings fan and the Avalanche were dirty SOB's. Now Avalanche fans could scream, oh no, it was the Red Wings who were the dirty SOB's. Darren McCarty? Oh yeah, he was my guy.
What's my point? In hockey, not unlike other sports, if you have the less talented team, some times you've got to mix it up a bit to even the playing field. The 03-04 Avalanche, though, had 5 future Hall-of-Famers on that roster. The Avalanche were good AND liked to mix it up. That culture starts from the Coach.
Now that I'm older, I feel bad for Steve Moore. He never played in the NHL again and still deals with problems from that concussion. I wish him no ill will. Todd Bertuzzi went on to play for the Red Wings and I am a fan of Bertuzzi's. I believe I have his jersey in my closet. (For fans of Beacon of Speech, you'll know my closet is filled with hockey jerseys and 2 football jerseys.) What I would like to do, for a moment, is re-examine the Bertuzzi/Moore incident using other sports to make my point.
LeBron James is driving to the basket against the Houston Rockets and, not James Harden, not Chris Paul, not Trevor Ariza, but a player freshly recalled from the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, knocks LeBron to the ground and knocks him out. That player would be ejected and suspended, but quickly the 24-7 Talking Heads of ESPN would be calling out Mike D'Antoni, asking 'what kind of team is he running?'
Tom Brady drops back to pass in the third week of the 2018 preseason, and after he releases the ball, he is hit in the head and knocked out by an aggressive free-agent invitee from Division III's Mount Union Purple Raiders. (Preseason schedule not released, team doesn't matter.) Before Brady even got off the turf, the commentators would be screaming of the opposition coach 'what kind of team is he running?'
Giancarlo Stanton is standing at the plate in the eighth inning of a blowout win over the Mets in the 2018 season. He already has 2 home runs on the day, but when he hit those home runs, he ran around the bases too slowly. The Mets pitcher comes in, fresh off a stint with the Las Vegas 51's, beans Stanton right in the head, knocking him out. The scorn from the New York media would be heaped upon Mets' manager Mickey Callaway, and not the pitcher. ESPN would howl of Callaway 'what kind of team is he running?'
Now you could say none of those scenarios are direct correlations, and I would agree. But I don't remember the outrage aimed at Granato after Moore took out Naslund. It was aimed at Moore. If you re-watch the 8-2 game in which Moore was struck, the actual game was out of hand. The coaches could have de-escalated the situation. But they didn't. The Canucks were stalking Moore like hungry sharks. When Steve Moore sued Bertuzzi, he also sued the entire Canucks ORGANIZATION for what had happened on the ice, including Canucks Coach Marc Crawford. Marc Crawford was VERY "vocal about the (original) incident and the failure of the league to respond."
Crawford et al took matters into their own hands as asleep-at-the-wheel Commissioner Gary Bettman allowed the situation to escalate. Again, if Steve Moore holds the Canucks Organization responsible, the Canucks should have counter-sued the Avalanche Organization....
All of this is hindsight.
Neither Colorado nor Vancouver played for the Stanley Cup at the end of 2004, it was the team that finished BEHIND them in third, the Calgary Flames.
Bertuzzi retired in 2014 and belongs in the Hockey Hall of Fame. The Moore Incident will likely keep him out of the Hall. (C'mon, he has to get in. Bertuzzi's better than Eric Lindros.)
Marc Crawford is now the Associate Coach of the Ottawa Senators.
Gary Bettman and the Owners didn't dwell on the Bertuzzi/Moore Incident, they were too busy cancelling the 2004-2005 NHL season. Because of that fact, the Bertuzzi suspension ended up being 17 months (the international hockey bodies respected the NHL suspension, not allowing Bertuzzi to play overseas during the lockout), was 20 games long, and cost Bertuzzi half a million in salary and half a million in lost endorsements. Gary Bettman is a tool. He was a tool then and he's a tool now.
If you think that I'm a huge jerk and Steve Moore was an innocent victim, please take a moment to make a stop at the Steve Moore Foundation Website and consider a donation. Click on the Photo below for the link.
I would never root against the American National Team in hockey. Let's just say I'll be glad when the team moves on from Tony Granato.
Because of Gary Bettman, there are no NHL'ers playing in Korea. The Men's Olympic Hockey Team is made up of Minor-Leaugers, College Kids, and, ironically, 4 players from the KHL. Today, it's not Granato's fault if the over-matched Americans lose. I'm watching the Philadelphia Flyers vs. the New York Rangers play on NBC as I type. I should be watching the national team, but they're buried on the NBC Sports Network. Next game for the U.S.A.? 10:00 p.m., Monday night on a cable channel that no one gets.