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As many of you probably know by now, The 1995-1996 Colorado Avalnche, coached by one Marc Crawford, will be reunited at opening night to celebrate the Cup Winning Avalanche (I assume there will be something Opening night, Oct. 7th. Dater doesn't say specifically, but even Avs management isn't stupid enough to not have something that night for the fans.) Unfortunately, the big understory for this game is the return of Marc Crawford, the guy behind the bench for the Vancouver Canucks when Todd Bertuzzi attacked Steve Moore.

There's very mixed reactions on Crawford, but personally, I'll be silent, or even applaud politely because this is a celebration of the 95-96 team. It's a night of celebration, and Crawford was part of that team. I've forgiven Bertuzzi, and I've forgiven Crawford. Doesn't mean I won't boo them when they are there for other teams, but as an ambassador for my favorite team of all time, I won't boo Crawford.

But, like DD at MHH, I'm still not over it.

 

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Bertuzzi's attack was gutless, cowardly and premeditated, I don't think he ever intended to break Steve Moore's neck. And when Crawford was smirking on the bench, he almost certainly didn't know the extent of Moore's injuries. There comes a time when holding a grudge becomes counter-productive and a hindrance, and I truly believe in forgiveness.

The reason this incident still bothers me is because it didn't seem to bother hockey people at all. After the requisite feeling bad for the guy, everyone within hockey seemed to move on, unwilling to take a critical look at a darkside of a sport they all claim to love.  There's still a culture of violent retribution (and just plain violence) that permeates through the game. Anyone who dares question it is accused of the "pansification" of the sport.

But I read conversations like this one on twitter between Journalist James Mirtle and the Leaf's blogger Chemmy from Pension Plan Puppets:

 

Chemmy: @mirtle any word on Hanson? I have to imagine punching the back of Brian Lee's head driving his face into the ice warrants a suspension.

Mirtle: @felixpotvin Nada.

 

Good god that's infuriating. You'd think the NHL, and more importantly hockey,  would learn their lesson, and that shit like that wouldn't be tolerated. The Bertuzzi-Moore incident is still bringing bad press to the NHL, and the NHL did it's best to forget about it as quickly as possible.

Look people go temporarily insane. It's easy to see an individual make a mistake, acknowledge it and forgive. But to watch an institution see an obvious mistake and do nothing to try and correct it is what still bothers me about this incident. I can forgive Bertuzzi for going insane, I can forgive Crawford for whatever it is he did, but I can't forgive hockey for creating an atmosphere that seems to be okay with this type of systematic violence, as long as it doesn't cause them any bad press.