The Malik Report
by Paul on 04/23/13 at 07:09 PM ET
Updated at 9:16 PM: Tough decision if he is healthy, but my heart and mind say play him, could certainly help if the game goes to a shootout.
from Brendan Savage of Mlive,
Bertuzzi, who hasn't played since Feb. 7, will be evaluated after Wednesday morning's pregame skate and could possibly be back in the lineup when the Red Wings host the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings at Joe Louis Arena.
"He's close," general manager Ken Holland told MLive.com in a text message. "Will discuss after practice if he's possible."
Update: The Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness confirms (and I'd play him [George here]--the Wings need all the size they can get against LA, even if he and Jordin Tootoo ride shotgun on Cory Emmerton's wing)...
Wings general manager just texted an update on forward Todd Bertuzzi’s status for Wednesday’s home game against the Los Angeles Kings.
“He’s close,” Holland texted. “We’ll discuss after practice if he’s a possible.”
Bertuzzi has not played since Feb. 7 after pinching a nerve in his back.
“Game four or five my back was hurting a bit,” Bertuzzi said back on April 1. “Then, that play (against St. Louis), it got tweaked or whatever, but by the third period I lost all feeling and everything in my right leg. I had not strength and after the game it got worse and worse and by the time I got home I was done. I went to the hospital for four days, kind of been every two weeks getting needles and resting.”
As does the Free Press's Helene St. James:
“Bert is close,” general manager Ken Holland told the Free Press Tuesday afternoon. “Decide after the morning skate.”
Bertuzzi last played Feb. 7 at St. Louis, where he left in so much pain he was hospitalized for three days upon returning to Detroit. Bertuzzi had to overcome both back problems and nerve pain in his right leg. He has been skating for nearly a month.
If Bertuzzi doesn’t play Wednesday night when the Wings host the Los Angeles Kings at Joe Louis Arena, the next opportunity comes Thursday against the Predators. The Wings, who are chasing a playoff spot in the Western Conference, finish the regular season Saturday at Dallas.
It’s a tough time of the year for a player to return, but the Wings could use Bertuzzi’s soft hands as they try to regain their footing offensively. They are also down to only 12 healthy forwards as is, after Drew Miller broke his hand last Saturday. Bertuzzi could be valuable especially on power plays, and certainly in shootouts.
The Wings are trying to extend a 21-year streak of making the playoffs. Speaking after Monday’s 4-0 victory over Phoenix, coach Mike Babcock said no one needed to spell out in the locker room what’s on the line this week.
“They’re big boys,” Babcock said. “They understand what’s going on more than anybody. They make their living here and they’ve got a lot of pride in wearing the sweater. I think our commitment to detail and our commitment to the process and all that has been very good. We’re a different team than we’ve been. That doesn’t mean we’re not working, not competing.”
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