It's the tragedy that won't go away.
One day after it was announced that an out-of-court settlement would end the $68 million lawsuit filed by former Avalanche forward Steve Moore against Todd Bertuzzi and the Vancouver Canucks, Moore's brother told TSN that there is no deal between Steve and Bertuzzi.
"I got a text message from Steve last night and he's very concerned," Mark Moore said. "He says there is no deal yet and isn't sure what to do about all the media speculation. Because of the injury he has trouble making decisions and so he doesn't know how to handle the media."
Mark Moore speculated that Tuesday's announcement was a power play by Bertuzzi's legal advisers to force 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 [another party involved in the case] have not made a statement."
That may have been true this morning. Not anymore.
That dovetails with what we heard yesterday. Bertuzzi's lawyer, Geoff Adair, told ESPN.com that the sides had reached a "firm and binding settlement" and the case is "settled in its totality." Later in the day, NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly told CBC, "We are pleased that the resolution of this matter allows the parties to turn the page and look to the future."
There's not a lot of room for interpretation in Adair's statement. And NHL representatives loathe speaking hypothetically. If Daly addressed a resolution, he must have had first-hand knowledge of it—whether the league was party to the suit or not.
So what's really going on?
Is it possible that Steve Moore's judgment is more impaired than we knew and that he didn't fully grasp what he signed off on? If that's the case, the magnitude of this tragedy has just been multiplied.
Perhaps Steve experienced settlement remorse and regretted passing on his day in court or not getting the full value he was seeking.
Or maybe Mark Moore is right and Tuesday's announcement was a one-sided farce.
The only evidence that supports that angle is the silence of Tim Danson, the lawyer who is representing Steve Moore. In the wake of a settlement, you'd expect some sort of public statement from Moore or his attorney.
If it really was a power play by Bertuzzi's legal team to expedite resolution on the final details-—payment schedules, clawbacks, and the like-—it would be a sorry move on their part ... but a far more palatable explanation than Moore's possibly deteriorating mental competence.
Expect more updates on this as the day goes on.