Canucks and Beyond

The Game Nobody Wants

11/27/2007 at 6:31pm EST

With the Canucks playing the Ducks in Vancouver tonight, the only story in the air is Todd Bertuzzi’s return to GM Place for the first time since he was traded. I commented on that a bit yesterday, but here are a few more words from the media.

First, from Iain MacIntyre in the Vancouver Sun this morning:

But Bertuzzi has not looked forward to this game. Reporters have not looked forward to it. Public relations staff on both teams have not looked forward to it. Fans? We’ll see tonight…

Except for the fans, I think MacIntyre is probably correct—there really is no upside to this game from a PR point of view, for either team.

imageBut for Bertuzzi and the fans, I think it is a very big deal. He played a lot of years here, and was—according to a poll cited in MacIntyre’s article—the most popular Canuck on the team before the Steve Moore incident.

Obviously a lot has changed, but when such a notable player moves on, I think a big part of the resolution of their years on a team is when they come back and play in another jersey. Vancouver and Bertuzzi haven’t had that ending yet, but they will tonight.

In his Vancouver press conference this morning, Bertuzzi seemed pretty relaxed about everything:

“I’m looking forward to playing in this game,” Bertuzzi said. “It’s going to be a fun time. I think it will be a positive thing for sure.”

Probably an overstatement, but overall he seemed like he was ready for it. And he’s not expecting anything negative from the fans, nor should he. My guess is that it’ll all be pretty tame.

Meanwhile, Markus Naslund has made his own feelings about tonight pretty clear, and I’d guess he speaks for most of the team:

“For me, personally, it’s going to be a little bit different facing Todd, who I’ve been that close with and played with for such a long time,” said Naslund. “I’m sure for him to come back here and face a lot of his [former] teammates that he’s still good friends with, and to come to this city that was such a big part of his career and that I know he misses, it’ll be a little bit different.”

Anyway, enough of that.

Bertuzzi will be talking to Gord Miller on TSN this afternoon and I’ll post the footage from that interview if he says anything interesting whatsoever, but I’m sort of doubting it.

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