The Malik Report
by George Malik on 03/03/12 at 05:52 PM ET
The New York Times’ Jeff Z. Klein spoke to both Red Wings forward Todd Bertuzzi and Wings GM Ken Holland about the team’s decision to sign Bertuzzi to a two-year extension recently, and while Bertuzzi offered little more than a shrug when he was asked about his lasting legacy as an NHL player…
“I don’t know,” Bertuzzi said. “I’ll answer that in two more years.”
Holland was willing to speak about Bertuzzi’s growth as a player and person some eight years removed from his attack on Steve Moore and the civil suit which will go to trial next fall:
“Todd, from my recollection, from what I saw, is not that type of a player that happened in that incident,” Detroit General Manager Ken Holland said. “I think that we all deserve a second chance.”
Holland admits to Klein that the Wings’ management sat down and questions whether they were willing to take on a player with as much baggage as Bertuzzi possesses the first time they acquired him back in 2007, but that wasn’t the case when Bertuzzi re-signed in 2009. In Detroit, he’s just “Bert”:
“We acquired him in ’07 at the deadline,” Holland said. “We were looking for some size. We had won one playoff round in three years. We thought we needed a little experience. Coming off back surgery, he hadn’t played much in Florida, so it was a bit of a gamble. But we went down the stretch and got to the final four that year. He gave us a physical presence.”
“Yeah, we talked about [his past] at a meeting,” he said. “Ultimately, we decided we were O.K. with it.”
“You hear rumblings about a player’s good and bad,” Holland said.
And now, as Bertuzzi completes what is his third full season and fourth year in Detroit?
“Ever since we’ve had him, for the most part, he’s been pretty popular in the locker room[,” Holland said. “]He’s been a good citizen. He’s trained hard. He’s in good shape. I think it’s been a good fit.”
Red Wings center Henrik Zetterberg said Bertuzzi “spreads joy around the room.”
The Wings aren’t ignoring or making excuses for Bertuzzi’s unconscionable ac—they’re simply stating that, in a locker room where one may park his past at the door, Bertuzzi’s been a hard-working, enthusiastic and pretty damn consistent leader on and off the ice, and that the Todd Bertuzzi they know as a two-time teammate and friend has come a long way from the Todd Bertuzzi they knew when he was a member of the Canucks.
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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.