Detroit — The news on forward Tyler Bertuzzi was as good as the Red Wings could expect.
Coach Derek Lalonde said after Saturday’s morning skate that Bertuzzi is considered day to day with a lower body injury, and there’s a chance Bertuzzi could even return for Tuesday’s game against San Jose.
Bertuzzi was not in the lineup Saturday against Philadelphia.
“We hope to have him for Tuesday, but we play three (games) in four (nights), so again, we hope Tuesday but we have an eight-day break after those three in four,” said Lalonde, noting the All-Star break which the Wings will be on. “But it’ll be a true day to day.”
This has been a challenging a season for Bertuzzi as any player could face.
Bertuzzi has had injuries to both hands while either blocking a shot, or getting hit by a puck, and this now is the third time he’s been forced out of the lineup.
It’s frustrating for Bertuzzi, who can be an unrestricted free agent this summer, and hoping to land a major contract this summer.
Instead, Bertuzzi has only played 15 games with one goal and four assists, and a minus-five plus-minus rating. The inability to stay in the lineup has added speculation as to whether Bertuzzi will remain with the Wings or be dealt at the trade deadline, not to mention the long-term question as to whether Bertuzzi will leave via free agency.
For now, though, Lalonde and the Wings miss what Bertuzzi brings to the lineup.
“What we miss from him is everyone is slotted correctly (when Bertuzzi plays),” said Lalonde, adding how difficult it has been also for Bertuzzi. “It’s not him having a four-point night, it’s him playing in our top-six (forwards) and slotting players where they belong. That’s what you miss.
“It’s been a tough go for him. He has been unable to get traction within his game. You have to feel for him. He gets a couple games, gets injured, a couple games and gets injured. We have a good record with him.
“His game was coming around and he was going to fill the net, it was only a matter of time. It’s a tough loss again and I feel for Tyler, he’s trying to get his game in order.”
Bertuzzi had one assist (no goals) in the six games since he returned this last time, with a minus-four rating. Still, Lalonde was seeing progress.
“You see him on the ice, he’s competing, he’s getting chances,” Lalonde said. “It’s unfortunate because he’s a skilled guy and you need the rhythm and pace of your game. He’s turned the puck over less every game he’s played because the game is slowing down for him. He’s getting more chances, more in rhythm.”
Goaltender Ville Husso will start Saturday against Philadelphia, coming off a fine outing and victory Thursday in Vegas.
… The Wings spent the evening in Vegas and flew back home Friday morning, in an effort to eliminate the usual drag teams feel the first game back after returning home from the west.
The Wings employed the same strategy earlier this season going from San Jose to Columbus, and played well in a victory over Columbus.
“I give (captain) Dylan (Larkin) credit, he came to me a month ago and asked can we stay over in Vegas, so we can be more prepared Saturday against Philadelphia,” Lalonde said. “We need to look like we did in Columbus, played the next day, and we were excellent.”
… Forward Filip Zadina (lower-body) will see doctors Saturday and Lalonde is hopeful Zadina will play “sooner rather than later”.
“He’s had some ups and downs and setbacks,” Lalonde said. “We hope to have him soon.”
Zadina hasn’t played since November 5, and has played only nine games this season.