From Felon To Fan Favorite
Todd Bertuzzi’s past does not need to be explained to anyone that would happen along this blog. We know what occured that fateful night against the Avalanche, when he and Steve More took the ice for a shift late in the third period. Hockey fans and lawyers continue to debate the events that led up to and transpired in 2004.
But would anyone have guessed that Todd Bertuzzi would recover from the then lengthiest suspension in NHL history, to become a fan favorite in Hockeytown?
Detroit fans were fairly split when Mr. Bertuzzi arrived at the trade deadline in 2007. Could the man, who’s 2002-03 season with Vancouver (45G 51A and 144 PIMS) was one of the greatest power forward seasons in NHL history, regain the form he once had? Despite a strong showing in the playoffs, the often injured Bertuzzi finished the season with just 3 goals in 15 games. He then signed elsewhere, and had two more semi-productive seasons on one year contracts before landing back in Detroit.
Bertuzzi has finally found his home. Each year, I notice less and less hostility and opposition to his play. While critics often point to his habit of picking up minor penalties, they surely have witnessed Bertuzzi play the game the way it is meant to be played. He is always the first one to stick up for a teammate and the only member of this roster who can throw them with the heavyweights. Bertuzzi has dazzled us with big time goals, and is easily one of the league’s most exciting to watch in the shootouts. An intimidating force on a variety of levels.
While the league has sped up since the lockout, Bertuzzi has adjusted his play. And why we will never see the production from his days on the top line in Vancouver, you would be hard pressed to find his rare combination of size and talent on many rosters in the league. Outside of an elbowing major against the Blackhawks last season, Bertuzzi has avoided any major infractions or suspensions. While he may never shake the Steve More scandal from his legacy, Bertuzzi can certainly add to it by helping to deliver another Stanley Cup to Motown.
Check out Todd’s two goal effort against the rival Blackhawks plus a bonus interview: