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Red Wings’ Bertuzzi Last Unvaccinated NHLer

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Tyler-Bertuzzi, Detroit Red Wings
Detroit Red Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi is the only active NHL who hasn't been vaccinated for COVID-19.

Detroit Red Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi truly is a man alone on an island.

Hockey Night in Canada’s Elliotte Friedman reported during Saturday’s 32 Thoughts segment that New Jersey Devils goaltender MacKenzie Blackwood has begun the COVID-19 vaccination process. He’ll be fully vaccinated prior to New Jersey’s first game in Canada on December 3.

That will be leaving Bertuzzi as the only player on an active NHL roster who hasn’t been vaccinated for COVID-19. Due to his status as an unvaccinated player, Bertuzzi is unable to enter Canada to play games there.

He missed his first game on Saturday as Detroit travelled to the Bell Centre to face the Montreal Canadiens. Without Bertuzzi, the Red Wings were thrashed 6-1. Robby Fabbri filled Bertuzzi’s role on the team’s top line alongside captain Dylan Larkin and rookie Lucas Raymond.

“Certainly Tyler’s a big part of our team, a big part of who we are,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. “He’s a real good player. The extent to which you miss Tyler depends on how the guys who fill some of those responsibilities play. If they play great, then the loss is less then if they don’t play great.”

Red Wings’ Bertuzzi Will Miss Nine Games

In total, Bertuzzi will miss nine Red Wings games in Canada this season if he chooses to remain unvaccinated. He will not be receiving his pay for any of those games, meaning he’ll be forfeiting approximately $450,000 in salary.

While the Wings traveled to Montreal, Bertuzzi remained in Detroit and skated on his own at Little Caesars Arena. He will join the team in Chicago on Sunday for the Red Wings’ game at the United Center against the Blackhawks,

“Certainly we’ll be excited to get Tyler back tomorrow,” Blashill said.”

As word spreads that Bertuzzi is now the lone holdout against the COVID-19 vaccine, will there be more peer pressure on him to fall in line with the rest of his brethren? If so, Blashill doesn’t suspect that it will come from within.

“First off, our guys love Tyler Bertuzzi,” Blashill said. “He’s a great teammate. As a coaching staff I’ve loved coaching him. He’s somebody that comes to work every day. He’s got great character.

“At the end of the day, the players were allowed to make a decision and that’s the decision he’s made. We all respect that.”

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