Joining the Toronto Maple Leafs as a UFA on a one-year contract for $5.5 million, following a solid tenure in Detroit and brief, albeit successful fling in Boston, Bertuzzi is discovering that that the heat in the center of the hockey universe can be stifling. And the scrutiny is relentless.
— Shukri Wrights (@ShukriWrights) November 3, 2023
During Thursday’s loss to the Bruins, while his Leafs teammates were jawing at Boston captain Brad Marchand following his altercation with Leafs defenseman Timothy Liljegren which left the latter injured, cameras were catching Bertuzzi laughing on the Toronto bench.
It certainly didn’t help matters that earlier in the day, Bertuzzi was praising Marchand as a great guy from their time together in Boston.
“People can perceive that however they want,” Bertuzzi told the Toronto media. “I’m not going to explain myself.”
Bertuzzi Red Wings Departure Left Larkin Distraught
Parting was sweet sorrow when Bertuzzi was moving on from Detroit at last season’s NHL trade deadline. There were tears shed by Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin over the departure of his buddy.
Things seemed to go well for Bertuzzi in Boston. Accounting for 5-5-10 totals in seven playoff games, he was sharing the team lead in scoring. Unable to find a fit for him under their salary cap, the Bruins let Bertuzzi walk. When no long-term pact was materializing for him, Bertuzzi was settling on the one-year deal with Toronto.
Maple Leafs Tyler Bertuzzi has recently seen a sizeable drop in ice time pic.twitter.com/8bWvqrFb70
— Sportsnet Stats (@SNstats) November 4, 2023
To say it hasn’t gone well for him there would be some understatement. Through 11 games, Bertuzzi has two goals, both on the power play for the 5-4-2 Leafs. He was skating a season-low 11:32 in that Thursday loss to Boston. That was the fourth successive game in which Toronto coach Sheldon Keefe was decreasing Bertuzzi’s time on ice.