Detroit Red Wings: Tyler Bertuzzi ‘will be by himself,’ unpaid, while team in Canada

Detroit Free Press

The Detroit Red Wings face their second test without one of their best players as they foray into Canada for a pair of games.

Tyler Bertuzzi’s decision not to get the COVID-19 vaccine means he cannot cross the border under current regulations. The Wings are at Toronto on Saturday, and at Montreal on Tuesday. During the four days they are in Canada, in addition to two games, Bertuzzi will miss a practice, and is responsible for arranging and paying for his own way to Boston, where the Wings play Thursday.

“It’s up to him if he wants to skate,” coach Jeff Blashill said Friday. “We have a plan in place that he will follow according to what he wants. He will be by himself.”

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The Wings will not pay Bertuzzi, the NHL’s sole unvaccinated player, while he misses team activities in Canada. Bertuzzi is making $4.25 million this season. Divided over the 200-day pay schedule the NHL uses, that works out to $85,000 over four days. (That does not include escrow, taxes, and agent’s fee.)

Bertuzzi leads the Wings with nine points in eight games.

More: More proof Detroit Red Wings will desperately miss Tyler Bertuzzi, NHL’s lone unvaccinated

The NHL and NHL Players Association agreed not to have a vaccine mandate, but players who miss team activities because of unvaccinated status can be suspended without pay. Commissioner Gary Bettman said before the season began that there were four; deputy commissioner Bill Daly told the Free Press on Oct. 25 that three have commenced the vaccination process. That leaves Bertuzzi as the only one in a 32-team league composed of 23-man rosters.

The Wings endured their worst loss of the season without Bertuzzi on Oct. 23, when they lost 6-1 at Montreal. 

Contact Helene St. James at hstjames@freepress.com. Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames. Read more on the Detroit Red Wings and sign up for our Red Wings newsletter. Her book, The Big 50: The Detroit Red Wings is available from AmazonBarnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Personalized copies available via her e-mail.

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