The Detroit Red Wings begin Chapter 3 of Life Without Tyler Bertuzzi tonight when they play at home against the Philadelphia Flyers.
But the Red Wings expect this to be a short chapter.
Bertuzzi won’t play tonight, but coach Derek Lalonde said he might play Tuesday against the San Jose Sharks.He’s considered day-to-day with a lower body injury.
“If we don’t (have him Tuesday), we have the eight-day break, so it would a true day to day.” Lalonde said.
He didn’t play the third period of Thursday’s 3-2 win in The Red Wings don’t expect it to be a long-term absence, but it is the third time he has been injured. He has only played 15 of the team’s 44 games.
“I think what we miss from him is everyone is slotted correctly,” Lalonde said. “It’s been a tough go for him. He’s been unable to get traction in his game. I feel for him. He gets a couple games, injured; a handful of games, injured; a couple games, injured. We have a very good record with him. It’s not him having four-point nights, it’s him playing in our top six and slotting players where they belong. That’s what you miss. It was only a matter of time before his game was coming around. Tough loss again. I feel more for Tyler trying to turn his game around.”
The Red Wings aren’t an overly physical team. Bertuzzi adds a layer of abrasiveness to the lineup.
“It’s big for us,” forward Lucas Raymond said. “He’s one of our key players on the ice and off ice. Whenever he’s out there it means a lot to us, just with that energy he brings, that edge that he plays with. We’ll see tonight but he’s a huge part of our team. Always a bummer when you miss out on a player like that.”
Lalonde thought Bertuzzi was getting his game together before this latest injury.
“He’s been good. He’s competing, getting chances,” Lalonde said. “It’s unfortunate because he’s a skilled guy. I think you need the rhythm and pace of your game. Every game he’s played he’s turned the puck over less because it’s slowing down for him. He’s getting more chances. He looks more in rhythm. Keep battling. We need him back.”
#RedWings morning skate before hosting Flyers at 7 on @BallySportsDET Tyler Bertuzzi is not skating after sitting third period Thursday with lower-body injury. Ville Husso in starter’s net. pic.twitter.com/WZHkff1yF1
— Ansar Khan (@AnsarKhanMLive) January 21, 2023
Adam Erne will likely take Bertuzzi’s spot on a line with Robby Fabbri and Pius Suter.
Perhaps Bertuzzi’s injury issues have played a role in Detroit’s inconsistency this season. When he’s rolling, the team leans on his tenacity.
“I think a lot comes from us,” Raymond said. “We’ve had opportunities to get on a roll and I think that’s the part that we’re missing now. Not being able to put it together during a longer stretch. I think it’s a lot of factors that play in, but it all comes down to us and what we do in this locker room. We’ve had a lot of injuries this season but that isn’t an excuse. We need to be able to put together games and hopefully get on a roll here before the break.”
Flyers Better Than Their Record
The Red Wings are playing a Flyers team is playing better than their overall record would suggest.
Coach John Tortorella’s tough love approach has pushed the Flyers to an 8-3 record in their past 11 games. They rank first in the NHL in wins over that period. They did lose their last game Thursday 4-1 to the Chicago Blackhawks.
The Flyers have scored 38 goals over those averages for an average 3.45 goals per game. But that’s not who they are as a team. Tortorella wants his teams to be hard to play against.
“We’re a forechecking team, so we’re at our best when we’re doing that,” Flyers forward Zack MacEwen said. “You know, creating turnovers and getting those pucks to the net off those turnovers. That’s what’s going to give us success and I think when things aren’t working, that’s kind of what we got to get back to.”