THE RECLAMATION OF TODD BERTUZZI

by Ron Spence

I was sitting in the GM Place press box the night that Todd Bertuzzi attacked Steve Moore. I was also at the game the night that Big Bert pummeled Eric Messier’s head into the ice.

As well, I saw Todd Bertuzzi at his best – on many nights.

I saw both the ying and the yang that is Todd Bertuzzi.

Todd Bertuzzi still has the talent to be the league’s top power forward.

But, there are a number of hinderences: the distractions of the Steve Moore court case; Todd’s temperament; and the difficulty of playing on the edge – night in and night out.

So, weighing his pluses and minuses, how will Todd Bertuzzi do this season?

I think brilliantly.

Why?

There is one great factor in his favour – Mike Keenan.

Mike Keenan has always coveted Bertuzzi’s brutish quality.

He traded for Bertuzzi when he was with the Islanders. And Keenan again traded for him, when he was the Panthers’ coach.

The trade didn’t work in his favour, however.

Luongo flourished in Vancouver and came second only to Martin Brodeur for the Vezina.

Bertuzzi, on the other hand, was injured while he was in Florida, and later traded to Detroit.

Since the trade, Keenan has been constantly slagged for the infamous swap.

From Florida, someone wrote:

Other detractors wrote:

Keenan had always defended his trade:

I covered the Canucks when Bertuzzi played for Vancouver, and I also covered the Canucks while Mike Keenan was their head coach.

And one thing that I can say, is that Mike Keenan doesn’t like being wrong.

So, he will council and cajole the Bertuzzi man-child. He will patiently reshape him again into being an NHL All-star.

And, then he can say, “That’s the player I traded for. I wasn’t wrong!”

************************************************************************************************

Mike Keenan has been blamed for another trade.

In Chicago, he traded Dominic Hasek to Buffalo for Stephane Beauregard and Buffalo’s 4th round choice (Eric Daze) in the 1993 Entry Draft, August 7, 1992.

But, he has made some good trades. In St. Louis, he acquired Pavol Demitra from  Ottawa for Christer Olsson, November 27, 1996.

In Vancouver, Keenan acquired Todd Bertuzzi and Bryan McCabe, with the NY Islanders’ 3rd round choice (Jarkko Ruutu) in the 1998 Entry Draft, for Trevor Linden, on February 6, 1998.

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