Anaheim Ducks Todd Bertuzzi listens to a question during a press conference prior to their NHL hockey game against the Vancouver Canucks in Vancouver Tuesday, November 27, 2007. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Richard Lam
TORONTO - The NHL coach thrust into the spotlight cast by Todd Bertuzzi's infamous on-ice assault against Steve Moore was staying quiet Thursday amid explosive allegations he called for "retaliation" against the Colorado Avalanche forward.
Marc Crawford said it's "not the time" to react to court documents alleging Bertuzzi, then with the Vancouver Canucks, acted under his direction in an attack that left Moore with three broken vertebrae and a concussion.
The stunning allegations, which have not been proven in court, come in an amended statement of claim filed in Moore's $38-million lawsuit against Bertuzzi and Orca Bay Hockey, the parent company of the Canucks at the time.
Bertuzzi attacked Moore from behind during a March 8, 2004 game.
The Canucks were angry with Moore leading up to the attack after Moore delivered a questionable hit on Canucks star Markus Naslund during a Feb. 16, 2004 game that went unpunished.
The documents allege that Crawford, between the second and third periods, demanded Moore "pay the price."
"An enraged Crawford, inside the Canuck dressing room, pointed to Steve Moore's name and number on a board containing the Avalanche roster and demanded that 'he (Moore) must pay the price,"' the amended statement of claim reads.
The statement further describes Crawford as "directing vigilante retaliation" against Moore and adds that, "Bertuzzi knew exactly what was expected of him by his superiors and the consequences to him if he did not deliver."
Crawford, now the head coach of the Los Angeles Kings, said Thursday that he has "nothing to say at this time."
"It's not the time or place," he said.
The new allegations follow interviews with key participants that are routinely conducted before a case goes to trial.
A motion to allow the amendments claims both Bertuzzi and representatives of Orca Bay Hockey made an "admission" that Crawford "told his players that Steve Moore 'must pay the price.' "
Bertuzzi's lawyers have asked the court to seal the transcripts from those interviews.
On Wednesday, a court official reserved judgment on that request.
Moore's lawyer Tim Danson has declined comment.
When reached by phone, Canucks general manager Dave Nonis also declined comment.
The brutal assault on Moore resulted in Bertuzzi serving a 17-month suspension. He also was charged, then pleaded guilty to assault causing bodily harm and received a conditional discharge.
He was reinstated by the NHL in August 2005 and was named to Canada's Olympic hockey team that same year.
Bertuzzi signed a two-year deal with the Anaheim Ducks earlier this year.
Moore hasn't played hockey since the 2004 assault.