Yesterday at this time, the Red Wings announced that they’d signed Tyler Bertuzzi to a 2-year, $9 million contract extension. Bertuzzi spoke with the media yesterday afternoon, and the Free Press’s Helene St. James notes Bertuzzi’s comments this morning:
The first half of 2021 was challenging for Bertuzzi: He had a great start to the season with five goals and seven points in nine games, then a back injury caused him so much pain he ended up missing the rest of the season. He underwent surgery in April, and happily reports everything looks good for being ready for training camp, which begins Sept. 23.
“Last year was very, very tough, physically and mentally, being in pain every day,” Bertuzzi said. “But everything is going as planned. Pretty much all restrictions are lifted in the gym. Been skating. No setbacks. Everything is going really well. I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing.”
Back injuries can be tough to bounce back from. Defenseman Danny DeKeyser, five years older than Bertuzzi, hasn’t looked as effective since undergoing back surgery in December 2019. Bertuzzi’s style is in-your-face — he loves to mix it up with opponents, and has a knack for scoring goals around the net, where shoves and crosschecks run rampant. But Bertuzzi sounds determined that to be just as big of a pest as he was. That element of his game was a big part of his appeal when the Wings drafted him in the second round in 2013.
Bertuzzi’s rehabbing pal is Larkin, who left the Wings’ April 20 game in obvious pain after Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn shoved his stick into Larkin’s neck. Larkin was hospitalized and had to wear a neck brace. Yzerman said last week Larkin is progressing well, and Bertuzzi said his and Larkin’s training has included working with skating coaches.
“We’re all working out at the rink,” Bertuzzi said. “I see Larks every day. We’re working out side by side, we’re both getting better, skating together. When more guys come to town, we’ll skate with them.”
St. James continues (paywall)