Kukla's Korner

Abel to Yzerman

Be Yourself Bert

Todd Bertuzzi is sounding downright social these days. The Canadian Press ran a nice little featurette on our boy yesterday, and it made me feel all warm. I brought the kids in, gathered them around the computer and pointed to the bearded Bertuzzi. I said, "Kids...that's a nice man. He speaks nicely. He plays nicely. He doesn't hurt people and he most definitely wouldn't place a shaft of composite across your back if you wore a jersey with a ducky on it." That made my children happy.

But the things that please children don’t always please adults.  And this is one of those times.  I appreciate the fact that a child can look at Todd Bertuzzi and see a big teddy bear.  That has a place in our society.

But me?  Not so much.  I’d like to, occasionally, wring my hands in frustration due to the vicious cross check Bertuzzi just gave Scott Niedermayer.  I’d like to conform to the standards of our hockey community and say, “wow…that was unnecessary. I hope we don’t pay for that penalty”, while I giggle at the sight of Niedermayer shaking off the cobwebs.

I’d like to see a slo-mo of Bertuzzi’s elbow catching Beauchamin across the jaw as he bulls to the net.  Super slo mo so that I can see the snap of his head moving backward.  That’s good tv. 

This? I don’t like to read this.

“It’s pretty special,” said Bertuzzi. “This is such a respectful team.”

Not a big fan of an allegedly violent man using the term “special.”  Not real fond of him using “respectful” either.  The context was different (he was referring to Wing legends and heritage), but still…I’d prefer that word kinda didn’t exist in Bertuzzi’s vocabulary.

Me? I’d reallly like to read a few more quotes that contain the terms “unprovoked violence”, “forearm”, “intimidation through the use of sociopathic tendencies”...you know, fun stuff like that. 

Look…don’t get all upset. Don’t start your “Dear Paul” emails.  I’m not condoning, or even recommending, a Bertuzzi/Moore situation.  All I’m asking for is a step backward, a small one, in behavior. 

I just want to see Bertuzzi play the kind of game he’s capable of, the kind of game that he’s stifling, the kind of game that comes naturally to a man who probably doesn’t do real well in formal social settings.  And I don’t mean for entertainment purposes, but because the Wings need that…badly.

The Wings need a force driving to the net with such momentum that the only possible way to stop him is a save from Giguere.  The Wings need the Duck D punished, and punished often.  Pavel, the little tyke, is trying. So are Draper and Franzen and Hank.  But those bodies are bouncing off.  Bertuzzi, if he chooses to…and, granted, he is this series more than the last…can leave a lasting impression. 

Bertuzzi can soften people, physically and mentally. Bertuzzi can make poultry think twice about taking liberties.  And Bertuzzi is capable of more than 19 shots on goal through 12 playoff games.

He is the key, I believe, to the rest of this series.  Make my children cry Bert.  Make them run from the room terrified.  Don’t worry about the lasting impression you’ll leave on them.  I’ll give them candy or something. They’ll be fine. 

Hurt the ducks.  Pound the ducks.  Hunt down Sasquatch and let him know there was a different guy before the version we see now, who uses the word “special.”

A few things I realize that you’re about to type:  Yes, I know that back is probably still hurting.  And if any injury is going to prevent violent play it’s that.  Yes, I know he’s playing better.  Good.  Now play better than that.  Play faster and dirtier.

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About Abel to Yzerman

Welcome to Abel to Yzerman, a Red Wing blog since 1977.  No other site on the internet has better-researched, fact-laden and better prepared discussions than A2Y.  Re-phrase: we do little research, find facts and stats highly overrated and claim little to no preparation.  There are 19 readers of A2Y. No more, no less. All of them, except maybe one, are juvenile in nature.  Reminding them of that in the comment section will only encourage them to prove that. Your suggestions and critiques are welcome: wphoulihan@gmail.com