The world has come to an end. Well, not literally, but figuratively, with the signing of Big Burt. The Calgary Flames have signed Todd Bertuzzi to a one-year contract worth 1.95 million buckaroo's (I do know buckaroo's is not a word.)
The factor that makes this interesting is the call for mercy from the Flames. They are asking the fans to give Bert a second chance. They have gone so far as to have Mr. Ken King, the team president, make a statement in the Calgary newspapers to give Todd a chance. Mr. King even made an appearance on the Fan, once again asking the fans to give Todd a second chance. Whether it’s a PR stunt, or the Flames really do want the fans to give him a chance; it begs the question: does Todd Bertuzzi deserve a new beginning or a new lease on life? Do the fans have an obligation to forgive players for past errors?
The Flames seem to think that Bert has paid his dues. They seem to think he has ""earned a second chance. The Ducks and Wings seemed to think the same; let Bert "get on with his life. Bertuzzi was interviewed the other day and is very excited about coming to the Flames to start a new life. He wants to win the fans over, and is looking forward to more playing time. But with that comes the responsibility of being a noble citizen.
The players have a responsibility to behave like civilized human beings. There is a code between the players, where there is a line that you don’t cross. So what happens to the player’s rep when that line is crossed? Make no mistake, there is a code among the players, it just seems like it gets trampled on over and over again. That being said, if the players can forgive, I return to my original question: Do the fans have an obligation to forgive Bertuzzi, or any player?
The hockey decision is already taken care of and answered, or else the Flames would have never signed him. The Flames have obviously felt that Bert will not be a cancer in the locker room. They must feel that he can contribute to the team, and the community. I have met Mr. Sutter many times. He is a man of integrity. He would never have signed Bert if he didn’t trust him in the first place.
The biggest concern for the Flames is obviously the backlash from the fans. Public relations are a major part of the Flames' business. It all comes down to: in the fan's eyes, has Bertuzzi served his time in purgatory? Does Todd Bertuzzi come with a contrite spirit? Has he been whipped enough, for lack of a better term? What is the answer to these questions? It’s in the eye of the beholder.
To get a handle on how the fans feel, I thought I would ask the fans themselves. Does Todd Bertuzzi deserve the benefit of the doubt?
QUOTES ON THE CAPTAIN'S PART IN THE SIGNING
"You're Captain and one of the best men ever to step on the ice has faith in Bert and knows what Bert brings to the table... Trust Iginla" Troy
"Bringing Iggy into the the equation at yesterday's news conference was just about as bad as Stockwell meeting the media on a jet ski and in a wet suit" Kyle
"Basically I’d say if Jerome vouches for him, he is all good for the fans in Calgary" Garblar
I was intrigued when I heard Jarome Iginla chip in on the media conference call. Was this for show, or was it for real? The Flames have said that Iginla was in on it right from the start. Looking at this with an objective point of view, it looks like they're trying to tell everyone that if their captain is for it, then we should all be for it. In other words, we should all drink the Kool-Aid. That being said, I have to take the word of the Flames that Iginla was a major force in the signing of Todd Bertuzzi. Yes, I might be a little biased, but I do trust the officials, they have always been very fair to me.
THE EFFECT WILL WEAR OFF
"I think everything will be a moot point if he goes there and produces; his past will soon forgotten." Keith
"Here is how I see it. If Bert comes in and scores in numbers, the Fans will give him a chance. I believe in giving everyone a second chance, but he should thank his lucky stars that the NHL has gave him a second chance" Conroy
I think Keith and Conroy are probably right; once he scores his first goal, the fans will be on board. It’s amazing what happens when all the adrenalin kicks in. Everyone seems to forget why they were mad in the first place.
THE HOCKEY DECISION SIGNING BERTUZZI
"It depends if he shows up in shape or not. He was not in shape the last two years and that's why Detroit did not use him in the playoffs and Anaheim bought him out"
"If what I have read from Duhatsek in the Globe is true, then there is a lot of upside...I just don't buy Bertuzzi saying that 2 months after his season ended, he's now in the best part of his career.
Here's the issue.... if Bertuzzi has looked within himself and realized that he had another chance in Van, then Fla, then Ana, and realized it's not about the team it's about him changing, then it could be incredible
I just don't think Bertuzzi has done that yet- if Iggy can, then that's great but if Iggy went public- and he has - about wanting Bert and then Bert blows it - that's going to divide that already suspect locker room" Banger
Todd has not been quite the same since his Vancouver days. Bert has the all the qualities and abilities to be a force with the Flames. It’s comes down to the execution of Bertuzzi be able to put the past behind him. I saw positive indications last year that he was turning it around.
"Sure, everyone deserves a second chance, but that doesn’t make up for what he did and he shouldn’t be entirely forgiven. He ruined a player’s career and life. since then he hasn’t done much to cure his cause and I don’t think the Flames should have taken a chance on him" Drake
"It was a few years ago...and Moore wasn't exactly the next big thing. It was retaliation that got out of hand. As an Avs fan, I want to boo him every time he’s on the ice in the Pepsi center. But as a hockey fan, I could understand that it’s difficult to determine what actually ended Moores career-- the punch or the dogpile" Foppa
I wanted to give the Colorado fans a say in on this, I know its hard on them to see Bertuzzi play. I completely understand where there coming from. People need to take care of Mr. Moore’s need, no doubt. It was a mistake, and something Bertuzzi has dealt with. I completely understand how the Avs fans feel; and in no way condone what happened.
"It's hard to condone Bertuzzi's past actions, and no one understands that more then Todd himself. Todd has publicly asked for forgiveness, and has lost a lot in the process. Bertuzzi lost big sponsorships, respect throughout the league and its fans, and salary. I believe Bertuzzi deserves a second chance to show his skill, size, and overall character.
For those who don't believe he deserves a second chance in Calgary. Listen to one of the most respected players in the NHL. Jarome Iginla has gone record to say that he wants Bertuzzi to play with him in Calgary, and to win over the fans. Hopefully fans will give him his second chance before the puck drops, but if not, he plans on doing it on the ice" Donovan
" Bertuzzi focuses on a new beginning, Calgarians focus on a comeback season for Bert" Conroy
Phanuef to Iggy, Iggy to Langkow, Langkow skates out of traffic, passes to Bertuzzi........ HE SCORES, YA BABY YA BABY YA BABY. " Conroy
"Regardless, Bertuzzi's got enough baggage; he doesn't need fans dumping on him too" Todd
"The debate will contine with Todd Bertuzzi up until the end of the season, while there is a chance that it will all end once his first goal hits the back of the net. But at the end of the day, for the price we paid and the hole he fills, we are a better team today than we were the day before we signed him" Rob
With my religious beliefs, I feel everyone deserves to be forgiven and deserves a second chance. I feel that Todd Bertuzzi does feel bad for what he did. That being said, my first reaction was no way, but I realized that I am not the judge. If the NHL finds he has done the time, then he deserves to be allowed to play.