Tyler Bertuzzi is the only player on the Detroit Red Wings who has refused to take the COVID-19 vaccine. As a result, Bertuzzi will only be allowed to play games in the United States until he decides to get vaccinated.
General Manager Steve Yzerman held a press conference today indicating that one of his best players will not be available for road trips to Canada. In accordance with the NHL contract with the players union, players can be suspended without pay for not following team protocols.
What Does This Mean for Bertuzzi?
Bertuzzi will be at training camp starting on Thursday and no doubt will have to deal with pressure from the media, teammates and fans.
If he continues to refuse to take the vaccine, Bertuzzi could forfeit salary for the nine games the Red Wings play in Canada this year. Since Bertuzzi has a cap hit of $4,750,000, if the Red Wings choose to suspend him without pay while the team is on road trips to Canada, Bertuzzi could lose upwards of $521,000 in salary.
For a player who is one more back injury away from never playing hockey again, Bertuzzi needs to realize that NHL careers are short and it’s not worth the lost revenue to be on the anti-vaccine side of this issue.
Here is a look at the games Bertuzzi will miss in Canada.
Red Wings Scheduled Games in Canada
October 23 @ Montreal
October 30 @ Toronto
November 2 @Montreal
February 26 @Toronto
March 12 @ Calgary
March 15 @ Edmonton
March 17 @ Vancouver
April 3 @ Ottawa
April 5 @ Winnipeg
When looking at the schedule, hopefully Bertuzzi decides to change his attitude regarding the vaccine and the team only loses his services for the first three games in Canada.
If Bertuzzi remains adamant on not taking the vaccine, it wouldn’t surprise me if Yzerman moves him to another team before the March 2022 deadline.
There have been rumors all summer that teams are interested in trading for the rugged winger. Time will tell what will happen with Bertuzzi, but the unsettling news that he is going to be a letdown to his teammates can’t be a good going into training camp.
Stay tuned, this story isn’t going away any time soon.