Whether Tyler Bertuzzi has been trying to score a goal or prevent one from being scored this season he has known bad luck. Real bad luck.
“You feel for him,” Detroit coach Derek Lalonde said. “He’s out trying to get his game back in order and obviously has another setback.”
The setback is a six-week stay on the injured list. Bertuzzi had successful surgery this morning to repair damage to his left hand that resulted from being hit by teammate Ben Chiarot in Wednesday’s 5-4 shootout loss to the Buffalo Sabres. The Red Wings will only say it is an upper body injury.
He had only been back seven games after spending a month on the injured list after he appeared to injure his right hand while blocking a shot in the second game of the season against the New Jersey Devils.
“Both were bad luck,” Lalonde said. “This one was on the offensive side, just being in the hard areas around the net. This other one, he blocked a shot on the defensive side of things.”
Bertuzzi was still trying to scrape the rust from his game after the first injury when the second one occurred.
“It’s tough,” Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin said. “I just feel for him. The team, we’re gonna miss him. We’re gonna have to find a way, like we have, to take a step. All of us need to take a step to fill in for what he brings.”
Bertuzzi has produced three points in seven games since coming back from the first injury.
“I felt he was just kind of getting his legs back and getting back into the swing of things and kind of having it again with his hands,” Larkin said. “It’s unfortunate news but we’re gonna have to find a way to step up and fill the void.”
Forwards Austin Czarnik was called up Wednesday to take Bertuzzi’s roster spot. He will play on the fourth line with Joe Veleno and Jonatan Berggren.
Czarnik, 29, has the skill to contribute. He dressed for four games with Detroit from Nov. 5-Nov. 18. He scored a goal and was +1. He is third in Griffins’ scoring with 14 points (6-8—14) in 12 games this season.
But the loss of Bertuzzi is significant. He was a 30-goal scorer last season. The Red Wings will miss his offense again.
“I know (Bertuzzi) had only one goal in his return but his chances … there’s 2-3 games where he would have had three goals, just being around the net,” Lalonde said. “For a team already struggling to create some offense, obviously we don’t want a potential 30-, 40-goal scorer out.”
Bertuzzi is also going to be an unrestricted free agent this summer. An extended absence from Detroit’s lineup would be bad for Bertuzzi personally as well as the team.