That depth the Detroit Red Wings had coming into the season will be tested after just one week.
Tyler Bertuzzi, the team’s gritty, goal-scoring top-line winger, will miss 4-6 weeks with what coach Derek Lalonde said Monday is an upper-body injury. Bertuzzi left in the second period of Saturday’s 5-2 victory at the New Jersey Devils after getting hit by a puck in the right hand area. Most immediately, it means an opportunity for Filip Zadina to enter the lineup.
The Wings were counting on Bertuzzi, who scored 30 goals last season, to be a major part of their offense. They already are without Robby Fabbri, who isn’t expected back from knee surgery before January. General manager Steve Yzerman signed three free-agent forwards in the offseason to strengthen the Wings.
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“It’s a tough loss with Fabbri also out, two top-six guys, arguably two first-liners,” Lalonde said. “But that is why you have the depth. Steve had a very good offseason and he wanted to have some depth. I like our lineup despite who is out, and that is a credit some more depth than Detroit has had the luxury off in the past.”
Lalonde did not know if Bertuzzi needed surgery. Lalonde was told after Saturday’s game that “it did not look good,” he said, and found out Monday morning how long Bertuzzi would be out.. Bertuzzi missed a chunk of preseason with an undisclosed injury, and at least this time will be able to condition.
“What he missed in camp affected him, and he was behind, you could see, on conditioning,” Lalonde said. “This will be an important for him, six weeks off the ice.”
It will also be an important time for Zadina, who was a healthy scratch the first two games.
“It’s an opportunity and I’ll try to do my best, and I’ll try to play hockey the way I did during preseason and camp,” Zadina said. “I’ll just go and prove that I am a good player. I just have to keep the positivity I had during the preseason. Nothing really changes for me. I just want to be the best player on the ice.
“It was tough for a little bit but it’s the process in hockey. I’m not the first one that it happened to. I just worked and trained when I didn’t get a chance. Now I’m getting a chance, so I’m ready and ready to go.”
Contact Helene St. James at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames. Read more on the Detroit Red Wings and sign up for our Red Wings newsletter. Her latest book, “On the Clock: Behind the Scenes with the Detroit Red Wings at the NHL Draft,” is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Personalized copies available via her e-mail.