DETROIT – Todd Bertuzzi has revitalized his career with the Detroit Red Wings, finding a good fit on the ice and perhaps restoring his reputation, too.
The Red Wings signed the 37-year-old forward to a two-year contract worth just more than $4 million on Thursday, just hours before hosting Vancouver.
“He likes it here and we like having him here,” Detroit general manager Ken Holland said. “He’s been a good player for us, giving us around the mid-40s in points. He’s a big guy with skills hard to find in one player.”
The six-foot-three, 245-pound forward had 12 goals and 29 points going into the game against the Canucks, one of his former teams. In all, he had 301 career goals and 742 points with the Red Wings, Canucks, New York Islanders, Anaheim, Calgary and Florida.
He has bounced back in his second stint with the Red Wings, contributing 45 points last year and 44 the previous season. The talented team counts on Bertuzzi in shootouts. He has scored four goals on six attempts in shootouts, including a team-high three to win games, entering the matchup with Vancouver.
Bertuzzi has slowly put his most infamous act behind him.
While playing for Vancouver on March 8, 2004, Bertuzzi sucker-punched Colorado’s Steve Moore in the head in one of hockey’s ugliest episodes. He served a 17-month suspension after hitting Moore and driving him face-first into the ice and breaking three vertebrae in his neck.
A few years later, Bertuzzi was first acquired by the Red Wings in a trade deadline deal with the Panthers in exchange for centre Shawn Matthias and a second-round pick, when a back injury was stunting his ability to play and produce.