The Malik Report
by George Malik on 02/22/12 at 01:58 PM ET
Updated 4x at 1:27 PM: In the, “This makes sense for both parties” depertmaent, the Free Press’s Helene St. James reports that the Red Wings and Todd Bertuzzi will keep on keepin’ on:
The Detroit Red Wings will announce a two-year extension for forward Todd Bertuzzi as early as Thursday, Bertuzzi’s agent, Pat Morris, told the Free Press today that “we’re working at it, and getting closer.” The sides have been talking for the past month.
Bertuzzi, 37, is in the last of a two-year deal that’s averaged $1,937,500. His new deal is for closer to $2.2 million a season, and is backloaded.
General manager Ken Holland told the Free Press last month that “I think Bert’s been great all season.” The Wings like how Bertuzzi has developed into a two-way player, and how he helped get the first line going after being put with Pavel Datsyuk and Johan Franzen on Nov. 17, in the game against Los Angeles. Bertuzzi has 12 goals and is plus-21 in 54 games this season.
Update: Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos confirms and Yahoo Sports’ Greg “Puck Daddy” Wyshynski reminds us that the whole Steve Moore trial not being discussed unwritten rule in the Wings’ locker room thing (actually, I thought it was a written rule as Bertuzzi’s stated that he can’t legally speak about the matte on the advisement of his attorney) helps with Bertuzzi’s comfort level.
Update #2: MLive’s Ansar Khan is confirming….
Todd Bertuzzi is close to signing a two-year contract extension with the Detroit Red Wings, hie agent, Pat Morris, confirmed in a text message to M-Live.com
A team source said the new deal, which could be announced as early as Thursday, will have a salary cap hit of slightly more than $2 million. Bertuzzi is in the final year of a two-year deal with a salary-cap hit of $1.937 million.
Bertuzzi, who turned 37 on Feb. 2, got off to a slow start, with one goal and two assists in 11 games. But he has played well since mid-November, when he was played on a line with Pavel Datsyuk and Johan Franzen, after missing six games in early with a back injury.
Red Wings general manager Ken Holland told M-Live.com earlier this month that the club wanted to re-sign Bertuzzi.
The team was hoping to sign him to a one-year deal, but was able to lower the cap hit by offering two years.
“Ever since (coach) Mike Babcock teamed him up with Franzen and Pav, they’ve been a real good line,’’ Holland said earlier this month. “I think Bert’s in great shape, playing with a lot of confidence and he’s got real good chemistry with those two guys.’‘
And the Denver Post’s Terry Frei mentioned the latest developments in the Moore civil suit last week.
I fully support the concept that a significant chunk of Bertuzzi’s earnings should end up with Steve Moore and I don’t condone Bertuzzi’s actions any more than Bertuzzi does…But the Puck Daddy level of smarm about a man trying to continue his life as a decent person who did an unconscionable thing but is a man, not a monster…
The key date for Todd Bertuzzi now that he’s apparently decided to remain with the Detroit Red Wings on a 2-year extension: Sept. 24.
The trial over former Colorado Avalanche forward Steve Moore’s $38 million lawsuit against Bertuzzi, for that career-ending attack in 2004, would have started on Oct. 12 if Bertuzzi didn’t have an NHL contract after this season; now, it begins on Sept. 24, as the legal wrangling continues over who will be liable if Moore wins the case.
Can you think of another franchise in the National Hockey League that would offer more support, comfort and insulation for a player in Bertuzzi’s spot than the Red Wings? No one will whisper a word about distractions or disappointment or personal opinions on the incident.
We don’t want to say Detroit runs a tight ship, but it would have plowed through that iceberg in the Atlantic back in 1912 without a leak.
Todd Bertuzzi is a human being who owes Steve Moore a lot of money. The only part of that equation I don’t understand is why Moore’s lawyer’s swinging for the sue-everybody fences when Steve more than deserves to move on with his life as well, and in the interim, I don’t feel guilty about liking the Todd Bertuzzi who’s a very different person in his second go-round with the Wings.
Update #3: From the Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness:
As this NHL season draws closer to the playoffs, the Wings have already begun working on how the roster for next season and beyond is going to look.
Todd Bertuzzi, who is in the final year of a two-year deal for just under $2 million a season, is close to signing a two-year extension with the team. Bertuzzi’s agent Patrick Morris sent a text stating that the two sides are close to a deal. The deal, which could be announced as early as Thursday, is expected to have a salary-cap hit of just over $2 million a season
Bertuzzi, who just turned 37, has played on the Wings’ top line after missing six games earlier this season with a back injury. When Wings coach Mike Babcock put him along with Pavel Datsyuk and John Franzen that unit really caught fire. He has 12 goals and 17 assists in 54 games this season and is a plus-21, which is the second best plus-minus rating amongst the forwards. Franzen leads the forwards at a plus-26.
Wings GM Ken Holland said earlier this month that the team wanted to re-sign Bertuzzi.
“He’s in great shape and playing with a lot of confidence,” Holland said. “And that line as got great chemistry.
On Tuesday, the team traded for defenseman Kyle Quincey. He’s a restricted free agent at the end of the season and Holland has already said they would make him an offer to remain with the team.
The Wings have a long list of unrestricted free agents to sign or let go this offseason. Defensemen Nicklas Lidstrom, Brad Stuart and Mike Commodore, along with forwards Jiri Hudler and Tomas Holmstrom are all in the final year of deals as is goalie Ty Conklin, who was assigned to Grand Rapids after clearing waivers on Tuesday.
Forwards Darren Helm and Justin Abdelkader are also restricted free agents at the end of the season and both are expected to re-sign.
Update #4: The Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan also confirms:
Bertuzzi’s agent Pat Morris expects to talk with general manager Ken Holland within the next couple days to work out final details on a two-year extension that would total approximately $4.2 million ($2.1 million per season).
Bertuzzi is in the final season of a deal that earns him $1.9 million this season.
“I’m optimistic we can get something done, but I don’t want to set any timetable,” Morris said. “There are a few small details that need to be worked out. I expect to chat with Kenny here in the next little while and we’ll see what happens. Todd doesn’t want to go anywhere. He’s been good for Detroit and Detroit has been good for Todd. The way he’s skating, it belies his birth certificate (37) All that (a deal) can happen but we’ll see. I have a good feeling.”
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