There are plenty of questions being raised about Detroit Red Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi and suddenly, they have nothing to do with COVID-19 and his stand as an anti-vaxxer.
In all the fuss that Bertuzzi’s anti-vaccination stance has been creating in camp, he’s also coming back from back surgery. And that’s what’s causing the questions.
It’s because Bertuzzi hasn’t come back . . . at least not in terms of game action. Although he’s been practising and the team is insisting that Tyler Bertuzzi is cleared to play, he hasn’t suited up through four preseason games. And Bertuzzi wasn’t in the lineup as the Red Wings were playing the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday night at Little Caesars Arena.
— Peter Andrianopoulos (@peterandri) October 4, 2021
As training camp was nearing, Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill was projecting a top forward like of Dylan Larkin between Bertuzzi and Jakub Vrana. Larkin made his own return to game action from a neck injury on Saturday, scoring two goals. Vrana’s been lost for four months following shoulder sugery.
Is There Cause For Concern With Detroit Red Wings’ Tyler Bertuzzi?
Should Red Wings fans be concerned about the status of the third piece of the club’s No. 1 unit?
“Returning to play coming off major back surgery, there’s lots that goes into that,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. “Part of it is just getting your body ready.
“He hasn’t skated this hard in a lot of months, way more months than other people. Part of it getting his body ready to feel real comfortable to be successful.
“He’ll practice again (Tuesday), and we’ll keep taking our time and ultimately our goal is to have him ready for Game 1 against Tampa.”
Is there a possibility that no one will be seeing Bertuzzi again in a Red Wings jersey until the regular-season opener? With each passing day and no Bertuzzi sightings, that’s becoming a realistic outcome.
“We’d love to have him in exhibition games that can help you feel your way into it,” Blashill said. “We’d love to get him in some games but right now we’re just making sure we’re progressing at the right speed.”
Blashill was again emphasizing that Bertuzzi is cleared to be back in action but that that all parties involved in the decision about when he’ll be playing in a game are opting to err on the side of caution.
“He’s cleared but when you haven’t played in a long time, your hips feel different,” Blashill explained. “You haven’t battled, and your groins feel different. It’s up to all of us.
“Certainly, he’s got a huge voice in it, so does our medical staff and so do I.”
Red Wings Roster Determination Likely On Friday
Blashill is hoping to have his season-opening roster finalized by Friday. In a perfect world, Bertuzzi would be playing by then, enabling the team to feel certain that his body is game ready.
“Ultimately, you’d love to do that,” Blashill admitted. “Ultimately, you’d love to have him play a few games. He’s in a spot where we’re progressing him and we’ll see.
“I’m not going to put a timeline on it. I’m not going to say that’s something that’s a must. Ultimately, he’s got to be ready for Game 1 against Tampa and there’s a lot of different ways you can get ready.
“Certainly, some of it is playing in the exhibition season. I’d love for him to be able to do that. But we’ll see how it progresses.”