Bertuzzi set to make Detroit debut
James, you've said surprising little about Bertuzzi coming back from injury tonight with Detroit. Is this only a story to the Detroiters?What a strange and winding road Todd Bertuzzi has been on since mugging Steve Moore a little more than three years ago.
Sitting out through the lockout. Returning for a distraction-filled, mediocre campaign in Vancouver. An off-season trade to a hockey wasteland in the summer that ended seven games in when a debilitating back problem required surgery.
And now, finally, the denouement: a nine-game integration into one of the best line-ups in the league just in time for the postseason (a place Bertuzzi has spent a scant 24 games over an 11-year career).
Is it only a story to those in Detroit? No. But it's also not likely to be an acquisition that will have any more of an impact than that of Kyle Calder by those same Red Wings.
A best-case scenario for Bertuzzi is that he becomes a cog in the winged wheel, a bit player who can chip in with flashes of both parts offence and brute force. Production wise, he has been essentially a 20-goal scorer since 2002-03 — although he is just 32 years old.
What he hasn't been is particularly motivated, which makes the worst-case scenario — an unproductive fade into the background mixed in with a few bad penalties and muted excuses — seem rather likely, at least from where I sit.
"I’ve basically had two lockout years in three years," Bertuzzi said. "It’s been tough but I worked hard. I think the mental part is done now."My guess is the Red Wings bow out in the second (or maybe third) round and we hear scantly a peep from Big Bert. Let's say he nets five goals and 13 points in those 20+ games, figures that will undoubtedly land him a bulky long-term deal with one of the league's perennial also-rans this summer.
Given he's a FOG, Phoenix seems like a good fit.