Tyler Bertuzzi will miss nine Detroit Red Wings games because he is the NHL’s lone non-vaccinated player.
But Bertuzzi isn’t the first Red Wing prohibited from playing in Canada.
The U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service barred Bob Probert, a Canadian citizen, from leaving the United States after he pleaded guilty to importing cocaine in 1989. Had Probert left the United States he would not have been allowed to return.
The late Probert went 1,461 days between games in Canada. He played Dec. 10, 1988, scoring a goal in an 8-2 win at Toronto. His next game in Canada was on December 9, 1992, a 5-3 loss at Toronto.
The Red Wings haven’t played as well without Tyler Bertuzzi, going 0-2 in Canada. They have given up 11 goals in the losses to Toronto and Montreal. They play the Canadiens again tonight in Montreal without Bertuzzi.
Hard Winning Without Tyler Bertuzzi
Back when Probert couldn’t enter Canada, the Red Wings also have trouble winning without him.
The Wings were 14-26-9 without Probert in Canada. They didn’t win a single game at Montreal or Vancouver during that time. They had a losing record in every Canadian city except Edmonton and Quebec.
When Tyler Bertuzzi isn’t in the lineup, the Red Wings don’t seem to have the same jump. He is a high energy player and the Red Wings feed off the energy. When Probert wasn’t in the lineup, the Red Wings weren’t as tough. The team’s offensive players were more vulnerable and had a little less room on the ice.
Probert served a three-month sentence in a correctional facility in Rochester, Minn., and three months in a rehabilitation center near Detroit. The NHL suspended Probert March 4, 1989, and reinstated him March 9, 1990.
In December, 1992, the INS lifted Probert’s travel band, saying the player had fulfilled his sentence requirements after his conviction. Those included giving anti-substance abuse lectures to children and submitting to regular drug testing.