LIke many Canadians, March is one of my favourite months: there is the very tentative signs of spring to at least anticipate and -- if I can ever get around all the curling clogging up my television, there is some good college basketbail -- both CIS and NCAA variety -- coming down the pipe, which is always to be savoured.
Anyway, we'll get to some of that as the day goes along, but in the meantime we touch base with headshots, the Coyotes saga, some speculation about Pat Riley and the Miami Heat and the best pub ever.
1. Ground Zero for headshots?:
It's amazing how quickly seven years can pass, I'll say that much. Al Maki does good work here getting up to speed on the Steve Moore-Todd Bertuzzi incident that is still winding through the court system. It's interesting to reflect on now in a sense, as NHL general managers get set to meet next week in Florida with the possibility of rule changes coming to limit concussions and blows to the head. There is no excusing Bertuzzi's attack on Moore, but the chain of events began with Moore trying to finish a check at high speed in the neutral zone; clipping Markus Naslund in the head and leaving the Canucks star with a concussion; a hit deemed legal at the time. Would different rules have prevented that first domino from falling? A question for another day, perhaps; in the meantime Bertuzzi's still playing; Steve Moore isn't: "We have the top neurosurgeons in the world on this case and we have reached the point where we can say Steve's brain injury is permanent," Timothy Danson [Moore's lawyer]said Monday. "Unfortunately for Steve Moore, he's not only dealing with the loss of his NHL career, he has to deal with the serious damage to his post-NHL career as a result of the brain injury."
When informed of those comments, Bertuzzi's lawyer, Geoffrey Adair, replied: "That's all Danson."
Moore suffered three fractured vertebrae, facial cuts and a concussion after being sucker-punched by Bertuzzi, then a member of the Vancouver Canucks. The former Colorado Avalanche forward was knocked unconscious and laid on the ice for roughly 10 minutes before being stretchered off and taken to a nearby hospital....In the seven years since the Bertuzzi-Moore incident: Bertuzzi was criminally charged, pled guilty to assault and received a conditional discharge; Moore and his parents filed a multi-million-dollar suit; Bertuzzi and the Canucks have filed counter-claims as have Bertuzzi and Crawford, the Canucks' former coach. Bertuzzi is claiming he was following Crawford's orders to make Moore "pay the price" for the hit on Naslund while Crawford has said Bertuzzi acted in "direct disobedience" for not coming off the ice before the attack occurred.
2. Arsenal-Barcelona: Lionel Messi predicting a wide-open return match
The two clubs meet Tuesday in the second half of a two-game set to determing who advances to the round-of-eight in Champions League. Arsenal leads 2-1 after the first game and would sensibly want to clog it up and preserve their lead; but Barcelona's Messi says the two team's basic philosophies will win out, working in Barcelona's favour: Both Barcelona and Arsenal have an attacking philosophy and play passing football, but Messi believes that this will only act in their favour. "We remain confident of progressing," said the 23-year-old, according to Mirrorfootball.co.uk. "Obviously we were bitterly disappointed to lose the first leg at the Emirates and felt we created more than enough chances to win the game."But it will be a different story in Spain. I'm not sure Arsenal are a side who can play to defend - and that will leave them very open."
3. With their superstars wavering, will the Miami Heat turn to a superstar coach?