In just over 24 hours, the reported settlement between former Colorado Avalanche forward Steve Moore and former Vancouver Canucks forward Todd Bertuzzi is in doubt. Though Bertuzzi's lawyer claimed a firm settlement had been reached between Moore, who was suing Bertuzzi and the Canucks for $68 million stemming from an on-ice incident in an NHL game 10 years ago, and his client, Moore's brother Mark told TSN that no deal has been agreed to.
More from Rick Westhead of TSN:
"I got a text message from Steve last night and he's very concerned," Mark Moore told TSN. "He says there is no deal yet and isn't sure what to do about all the media speculation.
Mark Moore said his mother and Steve's legal team believe Bertuzzi's legal advisers are trying to ratchet up pressure on Moore to reach a settlement this month.
"Bertuzzi is a free agent and he wants to sign a contract," Mark Moore continued. "They are trying to put on pressure. You see the Canucks have not made a statement."
This is very strange indeed.
After initial reports surfaced that a settlement had been reached, Bertuzzi's agent Geoff Adair later told Westhead that he received a "disconcerting email" from Moore's side that led him to believe the settlement was in doubt. Hours later, Adair confirmed to ESPN.com's Katie Strang that the parties had reached a “firm and binding agreement.”
Moore's attorneys did not comment publicly, however. That didn't exactly raise suspicions considering there was a confidentiality agreement tied to the terms of the settlement according to Adair.
Additionally, the NHL offered a brief statement through deputy commissioner Bill Daly (via CBC):
"We are pleased that the resolution of this matter allows the parties to turn the page and look to the future," NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said Tuesday in an email.
The NHL clearly would love to avoid this going to trial. Some of the league executives including commissioner Gary Bettman could have been put on the stand to testify. A trial could publicly question the culture of violence in the NHL and how the league itself may have been complicit in what happened to Moore.
As it stands, the trial remains set for Sept. 8 unless an out-of-court settlement is made official by a discontinuance being filed with the court.
Moore is seeking damages to get back lost wages from the career he was unable to resume after he was attacked by Bertuzzi during a game in March of 2004. Moore was in his rookie season at the time of the attack. He also claims the injury has negatively impacted his quest for future employment and education as well as his quality of life.
This strange twist now casts doubt on the claims made by Bertuzzi's lawyer and leads to a lot of questions going forward.