Abel to Yzerman

Abel to Yzerman

Tyler Bertuzzi's Future And Team Defense

12/12/2021 at 6:18am EST

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

Bertuzzi’s situation was among the questions by MLive readers in this week’s mailbag:

Q: I keep reading how Bertuzzi is the league’s only unvaccinated player, and it is causing him to miss games. What are you hearing about what pressures he is getting from the team (management or players) about this? If I was (Steve) Yzerman/(Chris) Ilitch, I would be quite upset that he is hurting the team over this. – Ron

A: Publicly, Yzerman, coach Jeff Blashill and captain Dylan Larkin, Bertuzzi’s close friend, support his decision. Blashill and the players genuinely like Bertuzzi, so I don’t know if he is getting pressure behind the scenes to get vaccinated.

Ultimately, Yzerman will decide if Bertuzzi has a future in the organization, and the general manager has shown he is aggressive and not hesitant to make bold moves.

Is Yzerman prepared to go through another season with one of his best players ineligible to play anywhere from eight to 11 games (depending on the schedule), assuming Canada continues to deny entry to the unvaccinated? It is probably easier to accept on a declining team entering a rebuild, not on a club making strides and aiming for the playoffs, as the Red Wings surely will be next season, if not this year.

My guess is Yzerman wants no part of that. Bertuzzi’s contract ($4.75 million cap hit) expires after 2022-23, when he’s due to become an unrestricted free agent. I doubt that Yzerman will want to re-sign him and will look to move him well before that, maybe in the offseason, maybe even at the trade deadline.

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from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,

The challenge right now for the Detroit Red Wings is to prove they are serious about the identity they want to establish.

They’ve demonstrated their competitiveness when their plan begins with tight defense — but they’ve also faltered without said defense, especially on the road. It leaves them, once again, looking to the respite of Little Caesars Arena as a chance to regain focus....

The Wings’ next game is at home, Tuesday against the New York Islanders. Coach Jeff Blashill said forward Tyler Bertuzzi is expected to be ready after a 10-day stay in COVID-19 protocol; it’s not clear if defenseman Marc Staal, who also has been in protocol, will be available. The Wings traveled under advanced restrictions on the trip to St. Louis and Colorado — meaning players had to eat in their rooms, like last season —in the hopes of containing the damage, as the virus has sidelined Bertuzzi, Staal and defenseman Danny DeKeyser in recent weeks.

Dealing with absences is part of the NHL grind. The Wings this season have shown the depth to withstand them, a distinct change from previous seasons. But they can't do so when opponents are allowed to wheel around Detroit’s zone as freely as the Avs were the first half of Friday's first period; Colorado turned that freedom into a 3-0 lead.

“If we want to win more on the road and we want to win later in the season, and we want to win against great teams, we have to keep working to be better defensively and we have to keep working to manage the puck,” Blashill said.

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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.

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