What's with Todd Bertuzzi?
It's a question Ed Willes from the Vancouver Province asked this weekend, and one that I think more people in the mainstream media should be paying attention to. It's quite late and I haven't a ton of time, but I did want to pass along the link for those who haven't yet had a read.
The talk is Bertuzzi and Canucks coach Mark Crawford aren't talking. The talk is the big winger requested a trade from the team at one point during his ordeal. The talk, in rumour circles at least, is that Canucks' rookie GM Dave Nonis may deal him for another scorer and/or goaltending help. From Willes:
The Canucks are now 29 games into their season and, clearly, something is wrong with Bertuzzi. It could be the ghosts of March 8. It could be the accumulated baggage from his years in Vancouver. It could be his naturally sunny disposition. Or it could be his relationship with Crawford.The obvious answer is no, but I'm not sure the solution is so obvious. In any event, this is what everyone in B.C. is talking about at the moment, which makes one wonder if there's anything to the talk.
But whatever it is, it's as obvious as an elephant in a wading pool and it raises the question, can the Canucks move forward with Bertuzzi in his current state?
I wrote of Bertuzzi in the summer of 2004 (for a different on-line publication before I had the blog):
There was word this week that Bertuzzi and his wife, Julie, had put their West Vancouver home up for sale (valued at $2.48-million, in case you are in the market) and it set the Canucks' faithful buzzing. While the Bertuzzi's impending move remains only speculation, I'm prepared to venture out on a limb, cite unnamed sources and claim that if Todd Bertuzzi hasn't played his final game in a Canuck uniform, the end is near.Despite the fact a year and a half has passed, I think much of that still holds. While the glass-is-half-full crew will be quick to point out the Canucks are on top of the Northwest Division, it's also true Vancouver is 3-4 points from falling into 9th spot in the West. A prolonged slump may be all that's needed for Nonis to act — provided the above scuttlebutt has any truth to it, of course.
Long before the fateful night Bertuzzi meted out his own vigilante justice on Colorado Avalanche winger Steve Moore, the bullish power forward had a reputation, and it wasn't that of a saint. Bertuzzi has always had a tenuous relationship with the hockey-mad Vancouver media, and sometimes he has been justified in offering the cold shoulder. There was, if you recall, the incident where one local sports jockey made incendiary comments about the player's wife...
As his doormat emblazoned 'Go Away' suggests, Bertuzzi is a man who enjoys his privacy. He doesn't revel in the limelight, or even wear it with a begrudging respect like Canuck captain and good friend Markus Naslund. As even Bertuzzi himself would attest, he's simply a gifted athlete and not hockey's answer to altruism.
As Bertuzzi sits at his summer home in Ontario and mulls his options, continuing his career in Vancouver may not be his most preferable one. With a criminal trial underway and an impending civil suit looking more likely, there is a definite possibility he may decide to cut his losses. Wouldn't it be easier to get a fresh start in Miami, Dallas or Philadelphia where the scrutiny wouldn't be so fierce? If he's looking to once again fade into the background as a reluctant superstar, it's certainly not going to happen anytime soon in Vancouver.
I do know this much: Bertuzzi, the way he's played since the end of the 2002-03 regular season, isn't worth the space he's taking up under the cap and isn't worth what Vancouver could likely get back in a trade. If I'm Nonis, I move him in the next few months.
Perhaps more later...