Since the Todd Bertuzzi incident, many American "journalists" - the vast majority of which probably havent seen a game in their lives - have been chiming in on the game of hockey, its violence, and trashing the sport we all love for supposedly condoning Bertuzzi's actions.
Most dont realize that Bertuzzi's hit on Steve Moore was so far beyond the boundaries of the game of hockey that he has been almost universally villified within hockey circles as well.
But why consider that when there is sensationalist dogma to be had? The most revolting in a long list of bad articles on this incident was written by ESPN's Jim Kelly, who felt that it was easier to blame Canada for Bertuzzi's sucker punch rather than Todd Bertuzzi himself. This is my open letter response to Kelly:
I, like many other Canadians, am writing in response to your outrageous column blaming Bertuzzi's actions on Canadian hockey culture.
Normally, I find you to be a decent writer, but your logic in this piece is so poor it almost qualifies as slander.
While you are correct in stating that we embrace the physical style of play, you do Canadians, hockey, and the ignorant people who believe what you say - no matter how fabricated - a great disservice by trying to link Bertuzzi's actions with "pysical play."
Bertuzzi's act is not sanctioned, condoned, or accepted by ANY code - written or unwritten - in hockey, or in life in general. To suggest otherwise is is assinine.
In your last paragraph, you wrote: "If Bertuzzi's actions hadn't fractured vertebrae in Moore's neck, he'd have been an honored man in his locker room, the city of Vancouver and across all of Canada. Even now his apologists talk more about "poor Todd" than they do of the injured Moore."
The flaws in this statement alone are staggering.
First, I doubt any Canadian who exists outside of your delusional fantasies have ever considered Matt Johnson, Marty McSorely or Jeff Kugel as heroes for acting like ridiculous cowards.
If you talk to real Canadians (do you know any real Canadians?), most consider those three players (as examples) to be the lowest order of scum for their actions. As far as most Canadians are concerned, we believe that Bertuzzi has joined them in this innermost ring of hockey hell.
And yes, there are apologists for Bertuzzi. Some of them happen to be Canadian. To use that as a means of painting all Canadians with the same brush is insulting. Some Americans defend Ty Cobb's actions during his life and carreer to this day. Can I use this to paint all Americans as violent racists? Somehow, I think you would object to that characterization.
Speaking of Ty Cobb, where to beanballs, bench clearing brawls, and guys going into bases with their spikes up fit into your "this kind of activity isnt tolerated in the other major sports" argument?
The ironic thing about your article is that you yourself have become an apologist for Bertuzzi. You are trying to place the blame everywhere but where it belongs. You want to blame the league, Canada, and hockey culture.
Perhaps you should blame the one who deserves it? Todd Bertuzzi himself.
Afterall, thousands upon thousands of people have grown up in Canada, within our hockey culture, yet managed to not seriously injure an opponent through such a heinous act. I think you owe them, and us, an apology.