Sep 22, 2011; London, ON, Canada; Detroit Red Wings left wing Todd Bertuzzi (44) in action against the Philadelphia Flyers at John Labatt Centre. The Red Wings beat the Flyers 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Todd Bertuzzi: Is There Anything Left In The Tank?

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Todd Bertuzzi’s health is a big question mark heading into the Wings’ 2013-2014 season. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USPRESSWIRE

Maybe.

But, I doubt it.

Now before you go berating me… know that I speak the truth in love. Todd Bertuzzi is my kind of guy.

He strikes me as an old school drink a couple beers at your locker after the game, smoke a cigarette outside the team bus, out late and up early, nothing a large coffee can’t cure type of player.

What other Red Wing do you see throwing a lipper in while Ansar, Helene, and John Keating scramble into the room for post-game comments? Dude is old school I’m telling you.

I don’t care what anyone says, he’s the modern-day John Wayne of the NHL. Can you imagine Bert on the train rides back in the day with Gordie, Ted, Terry, and the gang?

He’d probably be trading Gordie back his smokes after taking him out at five-card stud.

You get the idea. I like the guy.

However, does Bert deserve a spot on this current Wings team? Now that’s an entirely different animal.

To answer that question look no further than these two factors: point production and injury history.

His goal totals have decreased every year since joining the Wings. He topped out with 18 goals in ’09, and it has been 16, 14, and 2 the years following.

In 2009, he played all 82 games and still only managed to put up 44 points. Respectable numbers, but my socks, ya they are not blown off.

So let me ask you this: if Bert’s best point total as a Red Wing (45) came four seasons ago when he was healthy and played every game…what can we realistically expect in 2013 from a 38 year-old who only played 7 games last year because of a jacked up back?

The best case scenario for Bert is that he comes into camp healthy and in shape, earning himself a third or fourth line wing position.

And, if Bert does earn a spot, would stealing the opportunity for younger Wings like Tomas Tatar or Gustav Nyquist from gaining valuable NHL experience really be worth it?

The other argument for keeping Bert around (besides his shootout skills and they banned his go to spin-o-rama) is his size, grit, and net front presence.

Call me crazy but I don’t remember seeing Bert manhandling anyone physically of late. However, I do recall hearing that he was laid up in a hospital bed and was walking with a cane because of back pain.

Not sure old Bert is going to be so eager to get out there and start bulldozing dudes when he finally gets his rickety back up and running again.

I think the Wings would be better served to give a guy like Tatar an opportunity to acclimate himself with the big club. The kid skates like the dickens (I`ve always wanted to say that), proved he can score at the AHL level, and won the American League MVP.

Okay, now what about the fourth line you say? Miller and Eaves might not have Bert’s hands, but they can skate, forecheck, grind, penalty kill, and chip in offensively when called upon.

The Bert who put up 97 points for the Canucks a decade ago is long gone. Unfortunately, the truth is that the Steve Moore incident forever changed him as a player. Who would blame him if that`s when he lost his passion for the physical side of hockey?

Father time comes for us all and it’s simply Todd’s time.

He’s what every beer league hockey player aspires to be. And, as cold as it might sound, that’s probably the best league for him at this point.

Todd you can play for my team any day…we could use a ringer.

Does Todd Bertuzzi Deserve A Spot On The Wings' Roster?

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