Detroit Red Wings willingness to mix it up will go a long way

BOSTON - DECEMBER 1: Detroit Red Wings left wing Tyler Bertuzzi (59) grabs Boston Bruins left wing Brad Marchand (63) as Marchand and Detroit Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard (35) exchange words during the second period. The Boston Bruins host the Detroit Red Wings in a regular season NHL hockey game at TD Garden in Boston on Dec. 1, 2018. (Photo by Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
BOSTON - DECEMBER 1: Detroit Red Wings left wing Tyler Bertuzzi (59) grabs Boston Bruins left wing Brad Marchand (63) as Marchand and Detroit Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard (35) exchange words during the second period. The Boston Bruins host the Detroit Red Wings in a regular season NHL hockey game at TD Garden in Boston on Dec. 1, 2018. (Photo by Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images) /
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Detroit Red Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi has been suspended for two games for punching Colorado’s Matt Calvert from the player’s bench.

Prior to the punch being thrown from Bertuzzi, Mike Green body checked Calvert with a solid clean hit right in front of the Detroit Red Wings bench.  Calvert’s stick went into a group of players while one hand remained on the handle.

A couple of Red Wings players appeared to hold Calvert’s stick, in turn preventing him from immediately returning into the play.  Calvert took exception to this and was clearly seen spearing Tyler Bertuzzi who was sitting on the bench.  Bertuzzi along with a host of Detroit Red Wings players popped up and started to go after Matt.

Bertuzzi punched him from the bench a couple of times as play was stopped and the teams converged.  Dylan Larkin was amongst the group of players involved.  Last evening it was deemed by the NHL the confrontation warranted a Tyler Bertuzzi two-game suspension while Calvert gets off without a thing.  Per NHL Player Safety;

While I am less than impressed with the league ruling, I have no issue with the way the Detroit Red Wings have been playing of late.  The physical nature in which they’ve been playing doesn’t just generate excitement from the fans it goes a long way in the locker room.

It is a way to build team chemistry; it brings players closer together in a hurry.  A similar situation happened when Patrik Nemeth appeared to give Larkin a forearm shiver during the third period of action Sunday night.  Larkin went down to the ice after his head was sandwiched between Nemeth’s arm and the glass.

No penalty was assessed on that play, so Anthony Mantha took exception and pounded Nemeth during the scrap.   The fight was somewhat one-sided.  It was the second fight of the evening as just a few minutes before, Tyler Bertuzzi handled himself quite nicely as he squared off with Ian Cole.

The Bertuzzi/Cole tilt started off as a dance, as both participants were holding on tight, it ended with Cole still trying to hang on as his face received a couple of Bertuzzi blows, including a couple of fantastic uppercuts.

Oh, and a message to the NHL.  Not one person in the arena dared to boo.  It was pandemonium with the crowd reacting cheerfully.  It was the third fight over the last two games for the Detroit Red Wings.  Luke Witkowski measured up in a scrap with Joakim Nordstrom in the game against the Boston Bruins.

Bertuzzi has continued to be one of the top Wings forwards over the last couple of weeks.  It is an enormous blow to the lineup over the next two games which sees the Wings face the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Expect Martin Frk to get another opportunity in the absence of Tyler Bertuzzi.  Don’t expect Bert to change his game once he is able to return to the lineup.  He most recently went after Brad Marchand after he took a free hack at Jimmy Howard who was skating to the Wings bench during a delayed penalty.

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Bert plays at his best when he is playing with a bit of an edge. The edge is what Detroit Red Wings fans and management want to see.  Of course, Jeff Blashill is disappointed with the suspension, but he won’t be upset with Tyler Bertuzzi sticking up for his teammates.