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Old 04-28-2006, 04:46 PM   #3108
Bronx33
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Default Wrapping up a difficult season

It's interesting what weinrich has to say about bert, soooo the NHL fans throughout the entire league gave him he11 all season (he earned it) and iam not going to feel sorry for him.

http://morningsentinel.mainetoday.co.../2669712.shtml


All of today's: News | Sports
from the Morning Sentinel

As I write tonight watching the playoffs, I can only think of what might have been. The final run for my Canucks didn't end the way I had envisioned, and so I am home watching like all of you.

As much as my run with St. Louis had excitement, this year can only be described as disappointing -- for a number of reasons, but mostly because we didn't make the playoffs. Now, I wait to see who wins and then get to work. That is, getting in shape and working on a new team or what comes next.

I have watched some games and this is my summary. Get used to games won on special teams and don't expect to see the banged-up, bloody wars of old.

You have to respect the league for sticking to the plan of zero-tolerance calls by the refs. I will always stand behind my belief that I would rather see games decided by even-strength goals that I feel are harder to earn. One game I watched, one team scored four power-play goals and the other scored three. The final score, 4-3.

Maybe the new fan enjoys this type of hockey, I don't. I guess it comes from playing in the type of games where guys are crawling on and off the ice with cuts and bruises, not whining about getting a call for a minor hook, but rather catching his breath because he knows the next shift will be just as physical.

Can anyone who is a fan of sports tell me that the past 15 years of playoffs have been boring because of hooking and holding? I guess you could call me old school.

Remember a game a few years ago when a player appeared to attack another and injured the player and then received a year's suspension. That attacking player was Todd Bertuzzi, a guy I got to know while playing in Vancouver alongside him.

Todd has served his suspension, but his sentence will never end. No matter where he plays, people call him a criminal. I witnessed it every game, and I feel it is time to let it go. I have expressed my feeling about the issue and I don't agree with his actions, but the same sort of thing has happened many times before. The game was just fortunate that no one was injured any worse.

Todd is one of the most gifted players I have ever played with. Now, his greatest asset has been taken away from him. Known as one of the most feared power forwards to come along in years, along with quickness and excellent puck skills, he was one of the premiere total packages. After a year away from the game, and a new standard of calls, everyone could see that Todd's hesitancy to play physical hurt his game this year. Of course, there were always flashes of brilliance that would amaze anyone in the building.

It is always something to watch a guy that large appear so nimble and graceful. But the constant reminders of the incident and the relentless ribbing by the press could not have made the season a pleasant one. Sure the life of an athlete comes with a price, but shouldn't this be the best time of an athlete's life, not his least memorable? Amidst all this, when the team was officially eliminated from the playoffs, Todd came to me after the game and told me he was sorry the team didn't play well enough so I could be in the playoffs. And, after the last game of the season, with my future up in the air, Todd was the only guy in the room to come over and give me a pat on the back. I didn't expect anyone to do this and no one had to, but it meant alot to me that it was Todd.

Little moments in your life can speak volumes and these two showed me a Todd Bertuzzi no one would hear about. I hope he gets a chance to get out of Canada and go to a city where he can leave the game at the rink and enjoy every day without the abuse.

One regret about the time in Vancouver was I never was really able to talk to my old buddy Dave Nonis, who was under a lot of pressure to get his team into the playoffs. But I will always be thankful for the opportunity he gave me. We will have plenty of time to talk when it is all over.

So, now I am back with my family and it feels good. I will enjoy the rest of the school year with them, and start training a little earlier than I had hoped. But maybe this will be good for a guy the players in Vancouver called "the Veteran."

My agent has some work to do this summer and I will prepare the same. I will watch the postseason and still the fire will burn to get there again and all the while I will make up for lost time at home. Another season in the books, but the silver lining to it ending is always the family. And I am ready to enjoy.
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