Naslund tees off against Moore
Rick Sadowski, Rocky Mountain News
Vancouver Canucks captain Markus Naslund slammed former Colorado Avalanche forward Steve Moore for filing a lawsuit in connection with the injuries he suffered when attacked by Vancouver's Todd Bertuzzi in a game last season.
"He's suing everyone so he can make money," Naslund told The Vancouver Sun. "I've got no respect for him at all. Even talking to his (former) teammates, it seems evident he doesn't have a lot of support in hockey."
Bertuzzi, Canucks forward Brad May, former Canucks general manager Brian Burke, Canucks coach Marc Crawford, the Canucks and the Orca Bay partnership that owns the NHL team were named as defendants in the lawsuit filed Feb. 15 in Denver District Court.
The lawsuit claims the defendants conspired to injure Moore in retaliation for an unpenalized hit by Moore against Naslund in a previous game.
Moore is represented by Denver attorney Lee D. Foreman and Boulder attorney John A. Purvis. Moore is seeking a trial by jury and compensatory damages, but no dollar figure was cited.
Neither attorney and no former Avalanche teammates of Moore could be reached for comment Monday.
"This is just a guy who's trying to hit a home run (financially)," Naslund, who has been playing in Sweden during the NHL
labor dispute, said of Moore. "(Moore is) someone who wasn't good enough to play. I'm not saying what (Bertuzzi did) was right. But if it was me, I'd be doing everything I could to get back and play and show everyone the character I have . . . instead of trying to sue everyone."
The lawsuit said Moore has not been able to undertake any "significant exercise" despite undergoing continuous rehabilitation, arguing his future as a hockey player is in doubt.
Bertuzzi pleaded guilty Dec. 22 in a British Columbia court to a charge of assault causing bodily harm for his attack against Moore in a March 8 game at General Motors Place in Vancouver.
Bertuzzi was given a conditional discharge - the equivalent of one year's probation - and ordered to perform community service.
Moore, 26, was carried off the ice on a stretcher after he was attacked and sucker-punched by Bertuzzi in retaliation for Moore's open-ice hit against Naslund in a Feb. 16, 2004, game at the Pepsi Center.
Moore was hospitalized with fractured vertebrae, loss of consciousness, a concussion and facial cuts. He became a free agent after the season and was not signed by any team.
Bertuzzi remains on indefinite suspension from the NHL; he lost about $502,000 of his 2003-04 salary and has been barred by the International Ice Hockey Federation from playing in Europe.
The NHL fined the Canucks $250,000, ruling the organization did not go far enough to keep its players from retaliating against Moore.
Naslund said he was not speaking out because of the hit administered by Moore that caused him to miss three games with a concussion and a gash on his forehead. Moore was not assessed a penalty and the league deemed the check to be legal.
"This isn't about the hit," Naslund said. "Hockey players take hits and give hits."
BOARD MEETING: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has scheduled a Board of Governors meeting for March 1 to discuss strategy following his cancellation of the season. The league would like to reach an agreement with the NHL Players' Association in time to hold a draft and make plans for a 2005-06 season. The union announced it will hold a general meeting on Monday and March 1.