In March, Steve Moore was seeking answers.
Now, the former Colorado Avalanche winger is reportedly seeking $68 million, a steep increase from the $38 million his lawsuit against Todd Bertuzzi and the Vancouver Canucks was worth just a couple months ago.
Moore hasn’t played since March 8, 2004, when he was punched from behind by Bertuzzi – then a Canucks winger, now an NHL free agent – in the third period of a 9-2 win for Moore’s Colorado Avalanche. Moore was knocked unconscious while players piled on top of him and around, both in an effort to attack Bertuzzi and to defend him, as a melee ensued.
The incident left Moore with three fractured neck vertebrae, facial cuts, and a concussion (CTV).
“During a hearing on Wednesday at Ontario Superior Court, Moore’s lawyers said they have filed documents increasing Moore’s demand for damages to $68 million from $38 million,” reports the Star‘s Rick Westhead.
“Retribution is a key theme in Moore’s suit. During a game before he was attacked by Bertuzzi, Moore delivered a questionable hit on then-Canucks captain Markus Naslund. Bertuzzi called Moore a punk and said he was pleased the teams still had two games remaining during that season.”
(The incident with Bertuzzi occurred in the final meeting between the Avs and Canucks that season, the second time they met after Moore hit Naslund.)
The civil trial is expected to start on September 8, 2014.
Moore is seeking $68 million for lost earnings, meaning he believes he would have earned that amount of money if not for Bertuzzi’s punch and the resulting injury. Both parties will therefore be trying to prove that Moore either would not have made that much money in his career as an NHLer (and after it), or that he would have made that and possibly more.
Although, both of those opposing positions are hypothetical, as Puck Daddy editor Greg Wyshynski points out.
“Alan D’Silva, the lawyer for the Canucks, will be tasked with proving that Moore wouldn’t have been a success on the ice or, well, in life,” writes Wyshynski. “According to the Star, D’Silva said an “expert” had assessed that Moore would have likely been “a hoist operator, a farm labourer or a cook in a fast-food restaurant” after his NHL career. Which is obviously the most likely career path for a Harvard graduate…”
Moore played four years of ice hockey at Harvard University, playing with both of his brother, Mark and Dominic. (Dominic Moore still plays in the NHL, and recently signed a new deal with the New York Rangers after he and the team reached the 2014 Stanley Cup Final, losing to the L.A. Kings in five games.)
Dominic Moore’s career could be a good case study for his brother, Steve, to bring to trial.
The younger Dominic has jumped around the NHL since playing his first game with the Rangers in 2003, and has since played for the Pittsburgh Penguins, Minnesota Wild, Toronto Maple Leafs, Buffalo Sabres, Florida Panthers, Montreal Canadiens, Tampa Bay Lightning, San Jose Sharks, and now the Rangers again.
The 33-year-old only played five games in his first season before playing 82 in his second, which was a full two years after his first game because of the season-cancelling NHL lockout in 2004/05.
Moore is a third-line player and journeyman veteran, amassing just 203 points in 603 career NHL games. However, he has been to a Stanley Cup Final and will have earned roughly $9,600,000 in his career, between 2006 and 2016 (CapGeek).
Steve Moore also started out his career gradually, playing just 69 games in parts of three seasons between 2001/02 and 2003/04. He played 57 games in 2004 and scored 12 points, before his season and career abruptly ended on March 8 in Vancouver.
In his final season, Steve earned $425,000 in NHL salary, according to CapGeek.
Of course, $68 million is a total exponentially higher than even his brother’s career earnings, which have been totalled over ten seasons.
But one player who could serve as an example in the case is Bertuzzi himself, according to Westhead.
“The Canucks and Bertuzzi will argue at trial that estimates Moore would make $35 million during his NHL career are wildly off-base. Moore’s expert list will include hockey executives who will say that he would have blossomed into a top-six forward.
“That much will be subjective. It would have been hard to predict, for instance, that Bertuzzi, demoted to the minors for 13 games during his third NHL season, would go on to earn nearly $50 million from NHL teams.”
Bertuzzi – who joined the NHL in 1996 and did play 13 games for the IHL’s Utah Grizzlies in his second season, not his third – earned more money in the 2004 season than in any other, bringing in $6,933,000 salary the same year he decked Moore and was subsequently suspended for a then-league record of 20 games, served over 17 months.
In his article, Westhead also reports that Moore had applied unsuccessfully to Harvard and Stanford’s business schools, and that D’Silva – the Canucks’ lawyer – has requested to see the reference letters Moore sent to those schools.