Detroit Red Wings gritty forward Tyler Bertuzzi, 12 weeks into his rehabilitation from back surgery, said he is making progress and expects to talk to his surgeon about being cleared for contact.
Does he expect to be ready for training camp? “That’s the plan,” Bertuzzi said when he met with the media to discuss his new two-year contract. The deal averages $4.75 million per season.
“No setbacks right now,” Bertuzzi said. “Everything is going really well actually.”
Bertuzzi has been skating with Dylan Larkin, also rehabilitating an injury that shut down his season early. Bertuzzi was off to an exceptional start, scoring five goals in his first nine games when he was felled by the nagging back pain.
“I am going to keep doing what I’m doing,” Bertuzzi said, “not trying to push it, just to slowly come back and get better, faster and stronger in the gym. It’s working right now. I don’t want to be too aggressive with it.”
The conservative approach makes sense for Bertuzzi. He needs to make sure he is ready before he starts playing his roughhouse style. His feisty attitude and hard-nosed approach gives the Red Wings a layer of grit and bravado that is vital.
Bertuzzi is Skating with Larkin
“Last year was very, very tough, physically, mentally, just being in pain every day,” Bertuzzi said.
He tried to rehab without surgery with the hope of returning to the lineup last season. But in the end, surgery was his best option.
GM Steve Yzerman reported earlier this week that Larkin’s rehab was going according to plan. Bertuzzi also offered an optimistic Larkin report.
“We are both getting better, ” Bertuzzi said. “We are skating together, we are kind of on the same schedule, it’s been good progress.”
He said contract negotiations went smoothly. CapFriendly.com reports Bertuzzi’s yearly salaries will be $4.25 million and $5.25 million.
“(It was) relatively quick,” Bertuzzi said. “There wasn’t much going back and forth. Once there was even ground, it was easy to say, “yeah.”
Some Bertuzzi trade rumors popped up this summer, but sources said the Red Wings never tried to trade him. Bertuzzi doesn’t seem to be bothered by the rumors.
“I can tell you that I’m glad to be a Red Wing,” he said.